An analysis of Ireland’s renewable thermal energy policy target
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Escalating oil and gas prices due to increased demand from emerging economies and a lack of political instability in major oil and gas producing regions have led to increased focus for Ireland’ s energy demand to be supplied from indigenous renewable sources. In addition to these economic issues various environmental issues such as global warming and a focus on developing sustainable energy have become more important at a national and international level. In 2007, the European Union agreed new climate and energy targets, 20-20-20 by 2020 - 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020; 20% energy efficiency by 2020 and 20% of the EU’s energy consumption to be from renewable sources by 2020. In Wake of this the EU directive 2009/28/EC (promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources) was formed. From this directive the Irish Government published a White paper on Energy Policy displaying Ireland’s ambition for renewable energy with individual targets set for each of the three distinct energy markets, namely the electricity, transport and thermal energy markets. The White Paper targets are set for the year 2020, with interim targets to be met by 2010. According to Richard Browne from the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources we may have failed to meet the interim target of 5% for thermal renewable energy. This study investigates the renewable thermal target of 12% for 2020 looking at how we will meet the target giving that projections for thermal energy show that the demand is decreasing due to the slowdown in economic activity. The thermal energy market in Ireland is defined as the energy used for space, process and water heating, cooking etc. [Department of communications, energy and natural resources, 2007], Investigation in this study also looks at how we currently produce our thermal energy, support schemes to promote renewable energy in heating and cooling and forecasts used when producing thermal energy and the assumptions these forecasts are based on. This study contributes significantly to the knowledge in the area of renewable thermal energy production and forecasting and upon completion of this study the author will determine if Ireland can meet the 12% target by 2020.
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