Renewable Energy: Requirement & Aspiration vs Reality

Under the EU Renewable Energy Directive, Ireland has a mandatory target to achieve 16% of its total energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.

Ireland has also set itself a binding target to achieve a 40% renewable energy share of total electricity supply by 2020.

  • The “proposal” was that the vast bulk of this will come from wind, with the remainder (2%) from Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and anaerobic digestion CHP.

Biofuel Obligation Scheme (BOS) was established to “ensure” Ireland reaches a 10% liquid biofuel target by 2020.

  • The BOS puts a requirement on the fuel companies to supply 4% of their annual turnover from biofuels.  Certificates are awarded to biofuel producers which could, in theory, be sold to the fuel companies to help meet their 4% target.
  • The fuel majors are buying pre-blended fuel through the UK and Rotterdam and avoid the requirement to buy certificates from Irish biofuel producers
  • All bar one of the rapeseed crushing plants, bioethanol production and all biodiesel plants have been mothballed.
  • Biomass currently accounts for less than 2% of Ireland’s total final energy consumption, whereas it is nearly six times this figure (11.6%) across the EU.

It will be interesting to see updated figures on the mandatory and binding targets for renewably sourced energy as we approach the 2020 deadline.