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News : Irish Last Updated: Dec 19th, 2007 - 13:17:15

Ireland’s transport sector recorded a 7.2% growth in energy used in 2006; 7.1% growth in CO2 emissions to 35% of total
By Finfacts Team
Dec 14, 2007, 04:12

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Energy-Related CO2 Emissions by Sector 1990-2006

Irish State agency Sustainable Energy Ireland, (SEI) on Thursday published two reports which detail Ireland’s energy use and related CO2 emissions in 2006. SEI’s Energy in Ireland 1990 -2006 report found that overall energy use in Ireland increased by almost 1% in 2006 while CO2 related energy emissions increased by 0.4%. The second report, Energy in Transport 2007 found that Ireland’s transport sector recorded a 7.2% growth in energy consumption during 2006 and a similar (7.1%) growth in energy related emissions, making it the fastest growing sector last year.

Ireland's transport sector was responsible for 35% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2006 and €5.5 billion was spent on the oil products needed to fuel transport. The road sector is 99% dependent on imported oil and road freight transport is the biggest contributor to the growth in energy use. SEI says that amount of energy it uses increased by 255% from 1990 to 2006.

Key Findings from Energy in Ireland 1990 -2006

  • Renewable energy use in Ireland grew by 15% during 2006. Wind energy experienced the highest growth in 2006, up by 46%, contributing 5% (primary energy equivalent) to Ireland’s total energy requirements for 2006. The CO2 avoided from renewable energy production reached 2.2 million tonnes of CO2 in 2006.

  • All sectors, with the exception of transport, experienced either reductions in energy related C02 emissions or small growth compared with the previous year. The transport sector recorded a 7.1% growth in emissions in 2006 compared to 2005. Transport now accounts for 35% of energy related emissions.

  • Emissions associated with electricity generation in 2006 decreased by 1.8% notwithstanding growth of 6.3% in final electricity consumption. Last year each kWh of electricity emitted 601 grams of carbon dioxide which was a reduction of 5.6% on 2005.

Key Findings from Energy in Transport 2007 

  • Road freight experienced the largest growth in transport energy use since 1990 increasing by 255%.  Private car transport increased by 119% over the same period.

  • During 2006 private car ownership per 1,000 population increased by 4.5% resulting in an increased car ownership of 420 cars per 1,000 people.  This translates into 1.2 cars per permanently occupied dwelling in 2006, a 54% increase on 1990.

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan T.D. said “These statistics show us that reductions in energy-related carbon emissions are possible; that through concerted action by all sectors we can achieve our Programme for Government targets. Transport remains, however, an increasing area of energy use. Even without the spectre of climate change, we will have to alter how we travel and how we fuel that travel. With oil at record prices and the peak in global oil production on its way, we will have to change our ways. Inaction is not an option.” 

David Taylor, Chief Executive, SEI said: “Embracing green sustainable energy is fundamental to Ireland’s economic development.  The growth of transport related CO2 emissions is of clear concern and the initiatives taken by Government in last week’s Budget are an important step in addressing overall emissions targets.”   

From a sectoral perspective energy related CO2 emissions from industry increased by 0.6 % in 2006, representing a modest increase in a sector which has recorded an overall improvement in energy efficiency of 15% since 1995.  Similarly the residential sector also showed improvements with a decrease in energy use of 1.2 % recorded during 2006. Renewable energy use in the residential sector did however show positive growth, rising by 12%, albeit from a small base, resulting from the initial benefits of the Greener Home Scheme.

In addition to growth in energy use of 7.2% in 2006 the “Energy in Transport 2007 Report” shows that energy use in the transport sector grew by 167% between 1990 and 2006, (6.3% per annum on average and rising to 7.2% in 2006).  Factors contributing to this growth include a three and a half fold increase in road freight transport energy use, a more than doubling of private car use and more than two and a half times increase in energy use by air transport.  

Taylor added “It should also be noted that Ireland is dependent on the international automotive industry to deliver energy efficiency gains through technology advancements, while at the consumer level well informed, transport use and purchase decisions are vitally important if we are to realise the benefits of these technological advances.  Also of note is Ireland’s high dependency on oil which at 56% of total energy use should be of considerable concern and reinforce the requirement for continued investment in renewable energy”. 

© Copyright 2007 by Finfacts.com

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