The percentage of Ireland’s electricity supply coming from renewable energy has now risen to an impressive 12.2% in 2008 - up from 9.4% in 2007.
This significant increase underlines the enormous business potential that now exists in Ireland’s ‘Green Economy’ as indigenous producers of renewable energy begin to see the clean energy they are generating replace electricity previously generated from imported fossil fuels.
This is according to Professor J Owen Lewis, Chief Executive of Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI), who announced the provisional 2008 figures on the opening day of the Energy Show 2009 at the RDS, Dublin.
The growing contribution of renewable energy to gross electricity consumption also underlines the progress being made in meeting Government targets in the area of sustainable energy. If a similar increase can be made in the coming 18 months, then the 15% interim target set out in the Government’s Energy White Paper can be successfully met.
The installed capacity for wind generation is set to increase by almost 50% during 2009, - further reinforcing the likelihood of the target being met. The figures were announced at the official opening of the Energy Show by Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Mr Eamon Ryan TD, who was in the RDS to meet some of the 190 Irish and international exhibitors of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies.
Minister Ryan said - “This event is proof that Ireland’s ‘Green Economy’ has arrived and is already thriving. There are several thousand visiting energy professionals here today - all of which demonstrates the existing and future jobs potential of sustainable energy. Recent Government initiatives in the areas of smart networks, electric vehicles, wind energy, home insulation and green technology are driving further growth and job creation.
"We are successfully decarbonising our economy bringing with it thousands of jobs. We will meet our renewable energy targets. The Green Economy is real and it is delivering. Today is living proof of this.”
Prof. Lewis added - “It is timely that we use the Energy Show as a platform to announce the very encouraging news that we are well on target to meet the Government’s 2010 target of obtaining 15% of electricity from renewable sources. This massive growth also shows the opportunities which now exist in the green economy - as do the 190 businesses of varying shapes and sizes exhibiting at this week’s Energy Show.”
Included in the Energy Show for the first time this year is a large exhibition of electric and hybrid vehicles, including the latest models available in the Irish market - from large trucks to cargo vans and cars - which should be of particular interest to fleet owners and operators. Fifteen suppliers and manufacturers of electric and hybrid vehicles are exhibiting at the Show.
Importantly, the increased contribution of wind energy to Ireland’s electricity supply is playing a key role in increasing the viability of a large scale deployment of electric vehicles, which are ideally suited to using the intermittent energy supply from this resource. Under recently-announced Government targets, 10% of road vehicles will be electric by 2020. Given Ireland’s abundant wind energy resource, electric vehicles have an important role to play in helping Ireland’s transport sector tackle CO2 emissions.
The Energy Show is taking place April 29th - 30th at the RDS Main Hall, Dublin.