The energy sector is continuing to play its part in Ireland’s transition to a low carbon future with the outcome of the most recent fuel mix disclosure report published by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities (CRU).
Fuel mix disclosures present reliable and verifiable information regarding the sources of electricity that suppliers use to meet their customers’ electricity needs and the related environmental impact. It does this by disclosing the fuel mix as the percentage of a supplier’s demand that is met by various electricity sources and the associated carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (tonnes/MWh).
In aggregate in 2018, 49% of electricity from suppliers on the Island of Ireland came from renewable sources, including wind and hydro generation. Approximately 39% of electricity was provided through gas powered generation. The remaining sources of generation included 7% coming from coal, 5% from peat and 1% from other sources such as oil.
This 49% shows a marked increase in level of renewables over the last 10 years, increasing from 11% in 2009 and 30% in 2013. As Ireland is part of the wholesale All-Island Single Electricity Market (SEM), these represent the fuel mix for the Island of Ireland.
The fuel mix and CO2 emissions disclosures allow consumers to understand the recent environmental impact of the electricity that they buy and choose between suppliers on this basis,compared with the All-Island average. All suppliers must present the sources of the electricity that they supply to their customers on their bills, to allow consumers to make an informed choice on the sources of their electricity.
This fuel mix information refers not only to green electricity physically produced in Ireland, but also to the verified green electricity that can be sourced from other European countries through Guarantee of Origin (GO) Certificates.GO Certificates certify that the electricity generated is from renewable energy produced in Europe. Irish electricity suppliers can purchase GOs to use as proof of the share or quantity of their energy demand from renewable sources in Europe and allows suppliers to purchase the renewable benefit of certain generators across Europe and include it in their total fuel mix.
This means that the fuel mix shown can have a higher percentage share of renewable energy sources than exists in the actual physical generation in Ireland. At present six suppliers offer 100% renewable electricity and there is a responsibility on suppliers to explain the fuel mix of its individual products to customers as well as providing clear marketing information. For those suppliers who offer specific “green products”, the CRU carries out a verification process to ensure the accuracy of the green claims.
Commissioner Aoife MacEvilly, Chairperson of the CRU and Commissioner with responsibility for retail markets said: “CRU research found that 7 in 10 electricity customers consider it is important that energy is produced from renewable sources. Over half of electricity customers told us they took ‘green products’ into consideration when choosing their electricity supplier. As an increasing number of suppliers offer 100% renewable electricity supply to their customers, the CRU’s role in verifying fuel mix information provides customers with assurance on the accuracy of these offers.”