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New SEAI figures show big decisions still needed to get Ireland off fossil fuels

26 Nov 2015

Activists outside Leinster House illustrate the "tug-of-war" between fossil fuels and renewables for the future of Irish energy policy

Ireland still only just over half way to meeting the EU 2020 renewable energy targets

Today the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland released figures on the state of Ireland’s energy in 2014 [1]. The analysis shows our overwhelming dependence on fossil fuels, which still account for over 90% of our energy use. Despite recent progress we are still only half way to our EU 2020 renewable energy targets. Worryingly, last week's European Commission analysis confirmed that current policy will not do enough to get Ireland to meet these 2020 targets [2] which would result in heavy fines for Ireland. Friends of  the Earth campaigners staged a ‘tug of war’ today with fossil fuels vs renewables to represent the struggle for the future of our energy system.

Kate Ruddock, policy and campaigns manager at Friends of the Earth commented,

"Despite some progress with renewable energy, Ireland’s energy system remains firmly reliant on fossil fuels. It is madness that we subsidise peat and gas power plants, but there are no payments for solar electricity or for microgeneration. Or that the system supports developers to build wind farms, but there is no mechanism for community participation in renewable energy. Our campaigners staged a ‘tug of war’ today with fossil fuels vs renewables to represent this struggle, and ask the Irish Government to put its weight on the side of citizens, communities and the renewable transformation."

The SEAI report comes on the day that Minister Alex White was in Brussels at the Council of the European Union, where the Council agreed that each member state should develop a 10 year plan to reduce carbon emissions, increase renewable energy and increase energy efficiency, as part of the governance regime for the EU's new Energy Union.

With only a few days before the international talks on climate change in Paris kick off, and while Ireland waits for a National Energy Policy White Paper to be published, campaigners say Ireland needs to step up and put some weight into a fair and equitable energy transformation which places citizens and communities at its heart, and bids farewell to fossil fuels.

ENDS

Photographs from todays ‘Tug of War’ are available at the following link (https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ucbam9lqwqkmk5a/AABMBm4chE9LfjsU3IhzmUuaa?dl=0&preview=04+NO+FEE+Friends+of+the+Earth.jpg) and have been sent to the news desks this morning.

[1] http://www.seai.ie/Publications/Statistics_Publications/Energy_in_Ireland/ Renewable energy’s share is up to 8.6% of the total energy mix amounting to 3.3 million tonnes of avoided CO2. The share of renewables in heat and transport remain extremely low, at 6.6% and 5.2%. Renewables have increased most in electricity, mostly as a result of wind energy, amounting to 22.7% of the electricity share however gas remains the dominant fuel.

[2] http://ec.europa.eu/priorities/energy-union/state-energy-union/docs/ireland-national-factsheet_en.pdf

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