Ireland’s power generation and industrial emissions decreased by four percent in 2022

  • In 2022, greenhouse gas emissions from Irish power generation and industrial companies, covered by the EU Emissions Trading System, decreased by four percent.
  • Emissions decreased by two per cent from the electricity generation sector.
  • The decrease in industrial emissions is over seven per cent, with the cement industry emissions decreasing by almost nine per cent.
  • In contrast, greenhouse gas emissions from aviation increased dramatically by approximately 94 per cent compared to 2021, which reflects continued growth in this sector after the impact of Covid-19. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as the Competent Authority in Ireland for the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), today released its preliminary analysis of greenhouse gas emissions in 2022 from the ETS sector.  Emissions from Irish power generation and industrial companies decreased by four per cent (more than 600.000 tonnes) in 2022.  This compares with a decrease of approximately 1.2 per cent across Europe, according to preliminary analysis by carbon analysts of the data released today by the EU Commission.
Ireland’s ETS sector delivered a decrease in emissions in 2022 due to a combination of factors, including increased use of renewable electricity and renewable fuels as well as a decrease in cement production. In the electricity sector there was less use of coal and peat fired generation compared to the previous year, as conventional gas generation was available along with renewable energy. Fossil fired power stations continued to play a strong role in meeting a high electricity demand.
Laura Burke, EPA Director General said: “While the decrease we are seeing for 2022 from the emissions trading sector is welcome, 2022 emissions are in fact slightly above the pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Much more needs to be done if the sectoral targets under the 2023 Climate Action Plan are to be reached.The challenges faced in the power generation sector are in sharp focus at the moment. Decisions taken now must recognise the urgency of the climate change challenge and support the delivery of reductions in emissions through the development and roll out of a range of low carbon and renewable solutions.”Aside from power generation, the decrease in industrial emissions is seven per cent. 

  • Cement industries recorded a nine per cent decrease overall due to a drop in production and a small increase in the use of biofuels; 
  • Emissions from pharmachem industries decreased by almost three per cent.

Aviation emissions from flights within the European Economic Area reported to Ireland by 31 March increased by 94 per cent compared to 2021, to over 10 million tonnes. This is still lower than the pre-pandemic levels of 12.8 million tonnes. While some restructuring of routes has taken place – and some operators previously reporting to UK are reporting to Ireland – nevertheless the emissions data reflect that there was a strong recovery of the sector in 2022. 
Dr Maria Martin, EPA Senior Manager, said: “The increase in aviation emissions highlights the need to reduce the carbon intensity of air travel, including through the use of sustainable aviation fuels. In addition to other EU initiatives, the revised ETS Directive, shortly to be published, will incentivise the use of such fuels.”
In Ireland, 107 major industrial and institutional sites were required to report their emissions for 2022 by 31 March 2023 in the EU Emissions Trading System. These include sites operating in the power generation, cement, lime, and oil refining sectors. Also included are large companies in sectors such as food & drink, pharmaceuticals and semi-conductors.
Details of the verified emissions of greenhouse gases in 2022 are available on the EU’s website. The data are not complete for all Member states. Analysis of the EU data can be found in Carbon Pulse. Further details about Emissions Trading are available on the EPA website. Further information about Ireland’s overall greenhouse gas emissions is also available on our website and the EPA has developed useful infographics and published the detailed greenhouse gas inventory here.

EU Emissions Trading SystemThe Environmental Protection Agency is the competent authority for implementation of the EU Emissions Trading System in Ireland, including the administering of accounts on Ireland’s domain in the Union Registry. Fifteen aviation operators currently had reporting obligations to Ireland in the system, including five large, commercial airlines.
The EU Emissions Trading System covers large energy users and electricity generators, these are known as “stationary installations”. 107 major industrial and institutional sites were required to report their emissions for 2022 to the EPA by 31 March 2023. Mobile sources in the form of large aircraft were introduced into the EU ETS for the first time in 2012. Aviation emissions reported to Ireland come mainly from flights in and out of Ireland and also flights anywhere within the European Economic Area (EEA) where the aircraft carrier has an operating licence from the Irish Aviation Authority or has been assigned to Ireland under the EU ETS.
For comparative purposes Ireland’s verified EU Emissions Trading System emissions since 2008 were as follows (please note that from year to year the scope of the EU ETS can change somewhat as some installations close and new ones open):Verified Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Mtonnes CO2) – Stationary Installations:


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