Dublin, 7 December 2015
Energy Minister says Ireland can be ambitious on renewable energy targets
Minister for Energy Alex White, TD, is attending 'energy day' at the COP21 conference in Paris today (Monday). He will attend the Lima Paris Action Agenda meeting on Renewable Energy, which will include high-level sessions addressing renewable energy and energy efficiency. The meeting, which takes place in Observer Room 10 from 10.15am, has been organised by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Sustainable Energy for All.
Speaking in advance of the meeting, Minister White said that Ireland is well placed to meet its legally-binding EU target to source 16% of total energy use from renewable sources by 2020. He said this should give Ireland the confidence to be ambitious about further reducing energy-related carbon emissions after 2020.
Minister White said: "Ireland and the international community face a huge task but, whatever the difficulties, I believe we can meet the challenge of global warming. Last week Ireland became one of only a handful of European countries to legislate on this when the Climate Change Bill completed its passage through the Oireachtas. Next week I will publish an energy White Paper, which will set out a vision of how Ireland will achieve a low carbon energy system. We are poised to do great things.
"Decarbonising our energy system is essential if we are to deliver on the global climate change ambitions being discussed in Paris this week. Ireland must and will play its full part in this. We are well placed to achieve our 2020 target of producing 40% of our electricity from renewables.
"Regarding our heat target, I am currently consulting on new incentives to encourage large users of power for heating to switch to renewable energy sources. A renewable heat incentive will be put in place next year to help us reach our target of 12% of heat generation from renewables.
"On transport, we clearly have to increase our efforts if we are to meet the 10% target, as does every other EU country. We need to encourage much greater adoption of electric cars and we can increase the 'biofuel obligation,' which requires minimum amounts of biofuel to be contained in petrol and diesel.
"This should give us the confidence to be ambitious about further reducing energy-related carbon emissions after 2020."
Minister White said his forthcoming Energy White Paper would outline new policy actions to encourage improved energy efficiency in homes, businesses and the public sector. He said: "Ireland is currently almost halfway to meeting its 2020 target of a 20% improvement in energy efficiency. But we will have to increase our performance significantly it we are to achieve success by 2020." The EU energy efficiency targets are not binding, but they represent an important element in achieving binding targets on energy and greenhouse gas emissions.
Last month the European Commission published its latest State of the Energy Union report, which assesses EU and national progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and related targets. It noted that Ireland met its interim renewable energy target in 2013, and is on course to meet the 2020 target.
However, it said additional measures were needed if Ireland was to meet its overall target for reduced greenhouse gas emissions from the non-ETS (Emissions Trading System) sector, which includes agriculture and transport.
Note to editors
There are three aspects of Government policy designed to meet Ireland's binding 16% renewable energy target:
- 40% of the electricity consumed in Ireland will come from renewable energy sources by 2020
- 12% of heating consumption needs will be met from renewables by 2020, and
- 10% of transport fuel use from will come from renewables by 2020.