Falling energy costs now below EU average
ELECTRICITY and gas prices in Ireland are below the EU average and fell by more than 10pc last year, according to a major report into energy use.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) yesterday revealed that homeowners paid 12pc less for power between June 2009 and June 2010.
And prices were 14pc behind the EU average, while gas prices were 26pc below.
The Energy in Ireland 1990-2009 report also found that overall energy use fell by 9.3pc last year, mostly because of the recession and less economic activity.
It found that significant growth in the use of renewable energy was resulting in less carbon dioxide being produced, which would help Ireland meet its climate change obligations.
It also found:
- Changes to the motor tax regime, rewarding drivers of less-polluting vehicles, resulted in 80pc of new cars bought this year being in the lower tax bands. This compares with 25pc in July 2008.
- Car ownership fell by 1.1pc last year and is below the EU average. Some 540 adults per 1,000 own a car, compared with a European average of 551, and 578 in the UK.
- Renewable energy accounts for almost 15pc of all power generation.
- Carbon dioxide emissions fell by 11pc last year.
- Energy use fell by 9pc last year, falling by 13pc in industry and 10pc in transport.
- Some 70,000 homes have been retrofitted with better insulation and more efficient heating, resulting in lower bills and few carbon emissions.
SEAI chief operating officer Dr Brian Motherway said: "The story is very good for electricity and gas prices, despite many people saying we're the highest. The clear evidence is we're not.
"There's been a big growth in renewables, with more coming on stream next year. On any given day, 14.1pc of our power is produced from renewables and we will meet our 15pc target this year.
"Some 80pc of new cars bought this year are in the lower A and B tax bands. That's beginning to wash through the fleet. The tax changes gave the signal to change behaviour. That's not a shift to smaller cars, it's a shift to more efficient vehicles.
"On the car ownership figures, it's important to remember that a lot of people own cars in Germany but use them at the weekends. We use them to commute."