Source: 'Achieving Ireland’s Energy and CO2 Reduction Targets – An Alternative Approach', a policy advisory issued by the Irish Academy of Engineers
Much has been written and said about Ireland’s ambitious commitments under the European Commission’s Energy and Climate Package. There has been a pioneering Irish focus on investment in renewable energy, particularly in wind generation, and in the associated upgrading of the electricity transmission network.
Significant progress has also been achieved in emissions reduction in conventional power generation and in larger industry within the so-called emissions trading scheme (ETS) through good management, prudent investment and, not least, by the unfortunate impacts of recession.
Yet there has been little focus so far on energy and emissions reduction in the non-ETS sectors, particularly in the residential, commercial, smaller industrial and public service sectors, as required under Ireland’s onerous and legally binding 20-20-20 commitments.
The latest Environmental Protection Agency review of Ireland’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions points to non-achievement of these national commitments, consequently exposing Ireland to significant penalties from as early as 2016 onwards to 2020.
The Academy has therefore identified the need for an alternative approach, hence this Policy Advisory. It was made possible through the pooling of real-world expertise and unique insights of a truly multi-disciplinary team spanning the electricity and gas utilities, energy consultants, equipment suppliers, retrofitting practitioners and academia. The recommendations resulting from team brainstorming and original analysis break new ground in identifying innovative yet practicable solutions.
The Irish Academy of Engineering believes that the recommendations in its new policy advisory, which has been submitted to Government, can together enable Ireland to achieve all its 20-20-20 commitments. Furthermore, most of the recommendations can be privately funded, have short payback periods, make national economic sense, create opportunities for enterprise and employment and provide better living conditions for the population, resulting in reduced national healthcare costs.
Under the European Commission’s 20-20-20 strategy, Ireland is committed to: