Low Carbon Energy Roadmap

June 10, 2015
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KEY FINDINGS Significant investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies would be required for Ireland to transition to a low carbon economy by 2050. Investment by 2050 may be 30% higher in a low carbon energy system compared with a business as usual scenario and this is offset by a 33% reduction in fuel costs. Fossil fuels are incompatible with a low carbon economy and their use could be greatly diminished. Oil consumption could reduce to 1 ? 4 million barrels per annum by 2050 compared with 61 million barrels in a business as usual. Natural gas may still be used in 2050 but reduced limited to electricity generation with carbon capture and storage. Coal may be mostly removed from the energy system and peat could be removed entirely. Energy savings of 30% may be achieved in the low carbon scenarios by 2050 and bioenergy (comprising woody biomass, liquid biofuels and biogas) could become the dominant energy source. This is in stark contrast to today where bioenergy supplies approximately 2% of final energy consumption and has significant implications for land use and for energy security. All the 6.9 GW of onshore wind energy may be harnessed and as carbon dioxide is further constrained also some offshore wind and solar power. Significant changes in infrastructure may be required. Electrification of heat and transport could increase the electricity share of energy use from 18% to 25 ? 40%. Gas networks are anticipated to deliver more biogas than natural gas to final customers, in addition to the natural gas to power plants with carbon capture and storage. Oil distribution could be replaced by liquid biofuel distribution, apart from kerosene use in aviation. Significant changes may be envisaged for energy consumers. Private car transport could be completely electrified in 2050. Residential heating may switch from oil and gas to air source heat pumps and biogas.