Irish CO2 emissions plunge after coal-fired power plant shutdown
Emissions of carbon dioxide fell sharply last year and the decline outpaced that of the wider EU in a period that included the closure of the coal-fired turbines at ESB's Moneypoint power plant.
Data from the European Statistics Agency, Eurostat, showed that CO2 emissions here fell by a dramatic 6.8pc in 2018 versus 2017 - far larger than the 2.5pc drop recorded for the EU as a whole.
Moneypoint consists of three, 305-megawatt steam generating boilers that produce 20pc of electricity output. The turbines were closed for around three months last year.
Coal-fired generation accounted for 40pc of emissions from the electricity sector in 2015.
According to figures released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in April that cover a smaller subset of industry - excluding transport, for example - emissions from Irish power generation and industrial companies in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme fell by 8.2pc in 2018, compared to a decrease of approximately 4pc across Europe.
The EPA said that the decrease in emissions was largely due to the Moneypoint plant being offline for the last three months of the year, which caused a drop of 13.9pc in emissions from power generation.
Ireland is lagging in its agreed greenhouse gas emissions cuts and will face fines of up to €600m a year until it hits them.