Renewable energy accounted for 4% of Ireland’s total final energy consumption in 2020, which was the lowest share across the European Union (EU), according to figures by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The Environmental Indicators Ireland report published today (Monday, November 14), shows that oil accounted for 50% of Ireland’s total final energy consumption compared to an EU average of 35%.

The share of renewable energy sources used in the generation of electricity in Ireland has increased from 5% in 1990 to 42% in 2020. Wind is the main source used, with its share rising from 0% in 1990 to 36% in 2020.

However, figures also show that the share of renewables in primary energy production increased from 5% in 1990 to 50% last year, according to the CSO.

The majority (62%) of renewable energy production in Ireland was attributable to wind and 23% to biomass in 2020, while the share of hydro power fell from 36% in 1990 to 5%.

Image source: CSO

The share of natural gas in total primary energy production declined from 54% in 1990 to 6% in 2015. It increased to 59% in 2016 with the coming on stream of the Corrib Gas Field and declined to 41% in 2021.

Peat products peaked at 58% of total primary energy production in 2003, before falling to 4% in 2021, CSO figures show.


Ireland had the second-highest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per capita across the EU in 2020 at 11.6tof carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent, which is 57% higher than the EU average of 7.4t.

While GHG emissions across the EU fell by 32%, from 4.8 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 1990 to 3.3 billion tonnes in 2020, Irish emissions rose by 11.4%, from 55.2 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 1990 to 61.5 million tonnes in 2021.

Agriculture was the sector with the highest GHG emissions in Ireland over the 1990-2021 period, accounting for 38% of the total CO2 equivalent in 2021, according to CSO figures.

The energy sector’s share of GHG emissions in 2020 was the third-largest sectoral contributor to emissions with 17% of the total.

Image source: CSO

Commenting on the publication, statistician in the environment and climate division of the CSO, Reamonn McKeever said:

“Ireland performed badly in terms of the reduction of emissions since the year 2000 compared with the other EU member states, coming third worst in ammonia emissions, joint worst in nitrogen oxides, and worst in non-methane volatile organic compounds in 2020.”

The CSO noted that the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021 may have had an impact on some of the indicators such as emissions to air, transport and energy in this publication.