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Ireland plots path to a sustainable energy future

More than 250 million tonnes of CO2 emissions can be saved by 2050 by embracing wind power, smart grids, and electric vehicles.

22 December 2011

Three roadmaps, which outline paths to a sustainable energy future for Ireland, a member of the International Energy Agency (IEA), were unveiled by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) on 15 December.

The roadmaps – which focus on wind power, smart grids and electric vehicles – were each constructed in line with methodologies developed by the IEA and Deputy Executive Director Richard H Jones was on hand to congratulate the Irish authorities on their successful adaptation of the IEA work to their national circumstances.

“The Roadmaps are a further important mapping of the long-term opportunities in energy and the road to a decarbonised energy system for Ireland,” said Professor J. Owen Lewis, Chief Executive of SEAI. “They show a great many benefits, including reduced energy imports leading to increased security of supply, increased use of renewables leading to lower CO2 emissions and significant employment and economic opportunities.”

The roadmaps concluded:

  • The use of smart grids – networks that monitor and manage the transport of electricity from all generation sources to meet the varying electricity demands of end users – will lead to an accumulated reduction in energy-related CO2 emissions in Ireland of 250 million tonnes by 2050;
  • The potential economic value of electricity generated by wind could reach almost EUR 15 billion by 2050;
  • By 2050, transport fossil fuel imports could be reduced by up to 50% compared with 2011 - equating to a reduction of 800,000 tonnes of oil per annum;
  • The Electric Vehicles analysis, which focused on the passenger car fleet only, found that carbon dioxide reduction of 4 million tonnes per annum for the passenger car fleet is possible by 2050; and
  • Onshore and Offshore wind represent a significant carbon abatement opportunity; wind could abate between 400 and 450 megatonnes of CO2 by 2050.

In response to requests from Ministers from G8 countries, the IEA has led the creation of a series of international energy technology roadmaps with almost 20 either published or currently under development. These low-carbon energy technology roadmaps cover the most important technologies, from biofuels to energy efficient buildings. But it lies in the hands of national governments to implement selected roadmaps to really make a difference.

Click here to read a press release from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland

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