Ireland Seeking Renewables to Provide 16% of Energy by 2020

  • Support program for clean energy to be introduced in 2016
  • Installations of 1.3 gigawatts needed to reach target

Ireland announced a plan to achieve its mandatory targets on clean energy from the European Union, saying that 16 percent of its total consumption will come from renewables by the end of the decade.

The government will introduce a new support program for clean energy next year, the Irish energy ministry said in a white paper released Wednesday. It plans to develop bioenergy, solar and offshore technologies such as marine power.

"For the first time an Irish government has set its course on the eventual elimination of fossil fuels from our energy system," Energy Minister Alex White said at an event launching the paper in Dublin. The country said it intends to reduce its carbon emissions by 85 to 90 percent by 2050.

The European Union has set a target of a 40 percent reduction across the bloc for greenhouse gases by 2030, compared with 1990 levels. Ireland’s 16 percent target for final energy consumption by 2020 is part of the EU’s pledge. It includes electricity, transport and heating.

“The new support system is to be ’available from 2016’ but it will need to undergo state-aid approval by the European Commission,” said Victoria Cuming, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa policy at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “And, with every month of delay, it looks more and more likely that Ireland will miss its renewable electricity target.” 

Ireland currently has about 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy installed, including hydroelectric power, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. It would need to raise it to about 3.5 to 4 gigawatts to meet its targets, the white paper said.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.