A new report published today, commissioned by Wind Energy Ireland, and conducted by the Marine Institute of Ireland, details how net zero emissions can be achieved in SMARTrenew partner country, Ireland, by 2050.
The research outlines wind energy as the dominant force in replacing oil, a move which researchers believe has the potential to create 50,000 jobs in local economies, to develop wind farms, install heat pumps in homes, retrofit buildings and develop the electricity grid in the bid to a cleaner future for Ireland.
The report outlines three key areas for Ireland's decarbonisation pathway:
- Energy efficiency first: The barriers to retrofitting homes and using more energy efficient technology must be eliminated. Investment is required to rapidly train the skilled workers we will need.
- Electrification: Electricity, not oil, must become the backbone of Ireland's energy system. Every form of transport or heating that can be electrified, must be, as quickly as possible.
- More renewables faster: Renewable energy projects like wind farms – on and offshore – and solar farms must be developed far more quickly, along with and sustainable bioenergy, to fully decarbonise the energy system.
The study acts in conjunction with the Climate Action Bill in Ireland, which was published last week, making a net zero economy by 2050, legally binding.
Oil and gas currently provide around 80% of Ireland's total energy needs for power, heat and transport while renewable sources account for just 12%. By 2050, it is envisaged renewable electricity would provide around 65% of direct energy, and with 10-15% in the form of hydrogen to power heavy transport and industry. Biomass would also feature and carbon capture technologies would need to be further developed to store a small amount of unpreventable emissions.
The report’s authors calculate that the total annual investment needed to achieve this amounts to approximately 1.4 per cent of GDP against the Government’s previous ambition of an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. To put this in context, Ireland currently invests approximately 8.5 per cent of our GDP in energy every year.