Energy use falls for second year despite growth
Energy use has fallen slightly for the second year in a row, despite pronounced economic growth.
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) says that while the economy grew by 5.2pc last year, energy consumption fell by 0.5pc with emissions down by 1.2pc.
The use of renewables to produce electricity has avoided spending €255m a year on fossil fuels, the 'Energy in Ireland 1990-2014' report says, and has helped reduce emissions by 2.6 million tonnes a year.
SEAI chief executive Dr Brian Motherway said the data was welcomed ahead of the UN conference on climate change, COP 21.
"The analysis shows us clearly where we are still too dependent on fossil fuel fuels and where we are becoming less so," he said. "It has been so positive to see economic recovery in Ireland, and it is hugely encouraging to see that this growth has been achieved with an overall reduction, albeit modest, in energy use."
Transport remains the largest consumer of energy at 42pc, followed by residential (23pc) and industry (21pc). We spend €5.7bn a year importing fossil fuels.
Friends of the Earth said that despite progress, the energy system was too reliant on fossil fuels and that Ireland may not meet EU targets to increase renewable energy production.
It was "madness" to subsidise peat and gas power plants, but not provide help for solar electricity or for communities to develop renewable energy projects, Kate Ruddock, policy and campaigns manager, said.