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Ireland’s Biofuels Target: 5.75% by 2009 and 10% by 2020

Ireland’s Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources, Noel Dempsey, is introducing a biofuels obligation requiring that biofuels represent 5.75% of Ireland’s transport fuel market by 2009. The obligation will allow Ireland to achieve the EU Biofuels Directive target a year in advance of the 2010 deadline.

Minister Dempsey also announced a new 2020 target of 10% market penetration of biofuels which would also be delivered by the Biofuels Obligation.

This move to introduce a biofuels obligation will allow us to achieve carbon savings of over 700,000 tonnes per year by 2009. This is the equivalent of taking almost 200,000 cars off the road annually. Combined with the comprehensive renewable electricity and heat measures which I introduced in the last year, by 2009 renewable energy measures will save over 2 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

This decision represents a long-term commitment by Government to the development of a biofuels market in Ireland.

—Minster Dempsey

Also, a new €6 million (US$7.8 million) bioenergy scheme will provide farmers with a top-up to the EU energy crop premium. Under this scheme, which has just been introduced by the Department of Agriculture and Food, farmers will receive an additional €80 (US$104) per hectare on top of the existing €45 (US$58) premium.

The EU Fuel Quality Directive currently allows blends of up to 5% biofuels in regular gasoline and diesel. The European Commission recently proposed new standards for transport fuels that, among other measures, would establish a new gasoline blend of 10% ethanol (E10). (Earlier post.)

The new measures are one of the key policy decisions arising from the Bio-energy Ministerial Task Force, which was established last July.

The Irish Times reported last week that an upcoming report from Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency will show that greenhouse gas emission levels in Ireland have risen steeply for the first time in four years.

The records, to be released by the Environmental Protection Agency, are expected to reveal that greenhouse gas emissions have surged by more than one million tonnes, to a figure in the region of 70 million tonnes a year.

The rise, believed to be close to 2 per cent, is expected to be the largest since 2001, and will leave Ireland with one of the highest rates of emissions per head of population in the world. It will see emissions levels at over 25 per cent above 1990 levels, 12 percentage points higher than the Kyoto target.

The latest report, which is for 2005, is likely to show that the latest rise has been driven by a huge increase in emissions from the transport sector, which grew by about 8 per cent.



The surge in emissions isn't such a big surprise.

Firstly, the population centers aren't as dense as much of Europe. Sure, 1 million of the 4 million people living in the Republic of Ireland live in Dublin -- but that's County Dublin, not just city centre. The remaining 3 million are fairly spread out.

Secondly, the number of cars per person in Ireland has more than doubled in the past 10 years. Newfound wealth has purchased quite a few autos.

Thirdly, this newfound wealth has also resulted in the Irish demanding larger homes -- which naturally have to be built in further and further suburbs. Sprawl, and more miles driven per person.

End result: lots more cars, and lots more electronics requiring electricity. Lots more carbon emissions.


The report claims 25% increase in GHG emissions over 1990 level, which is 12% higher than Kyoto target for Ireland. However, this is not the whole picture. For US and Canada reports usually are citing pure CO2 emissions from combustion of fossil fuels. For EU countries it is GHG as a whole, which includes very potent methane, NOx, and CFC. European countries, like all other developed countries, have markedly reduced emissions of methane, NOx, and CFC. It was low-hanging fruit, and no further substantial reductions are possible. For pure CO2 emissions the picture is way more pessimistic. From 1990 to 2006 Ireland CO2 emissions increased by 40%.

I am wondering, how off they will be from their biofuel target of 5.75% in unrealistic two year?.


This is no surprise:
Population: 1990 - 3.5M. 2006 - 4.2M ~ 20% in 16 years.
The workforce has almost doubled from 1.1 -> 2.0M
We have the second highest GDP/head in the world at $43,600 @ppp
And so on and so on.
people are not spending their money on digital downloads of irish poetry and meditation courses.
They are out their buying SUVs*and houses in the 'burbs.
[ Houses in central(ish)dublin are unaffordable for most people ].
So lots of cars and lots of time spent in them listening to the radio etc.
Irish SUVs tend to be 3L diesels as fuel is 1E/Litre
Or we cycle or take the bus.

It is a long way from "dancing at the crossroads".


irelands kyoto target could be reached easy if the goverment just stoped burning coal and built one large nuclear power plant
but this wont happen in the in the short term it will take an external energy shock war in iran or saudi

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