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Carbon content of Irish electricity generation hits record low last year

The carbon content of electricity generation in Ireland fell to a record low last year, half the level it was in 1990, according to figures published by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

Renewable electricity helped Ireland avoid 2.6 million tonnes of CO2  emissions in 2014, and is now one of the single biggest contributors to carbon dioxide emissions reductions in Ireland. Without renewables, power generation emissions would have been 23 percent higher.

According to SEAI, renewable electricity generation, consisting of wind, hydro, landfill gas, biomass and biogas, accounted for 22.7 percent of gross electricity consumption and avoided €250 million of fossil fuel imports in 2014.

Commenting on the figures Dr Brian Motherway, Chief Executive of SEAI said:  “These most recent figures for Ireland are extremely positive. This comes ahead of an international climate change agreement at COP21 that will put the world on track to a low-emission, climate resilient and sustainable future. We can see how Ireland is moving to a low-carbon economy with clean and renewable energy increasingly used to provide electricity in our homes and businesses.”

Last year wind generation accounted for 18.2 percent of electricity generated and as such was the second largest source of electricity generation after natural gas.  Without wind, power generation related CO2 emissions would have been 16.2 percent higher.

The carbon intensity of electricity generation fell to a record low in 2014 of 457 grams of CO2 per kilowatt-hour of electrical output, half the level in 1990.

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