Energy-related emissions of CO2 went up in Ireland last year due to lower amounts of renewable electricity generation and a higher consumption of transport fuels as Covid restrictions eased.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland's (SEAI) Interim Energy Balance - published today - shows that energy-related CO2 emissions went up last year by just over 6%.

Overall, energy use went up by 4.3% in 2021.

The SEAI points out that the Government's own carbon budgets set out a reduction in CO2 emissions of 4.8% annually from 2021-2025.

Margie McCarthy, SEAI Director of Research and Insights, said in a statement: "The Government passed into law carbon budgets that call for an annual reduction of 4.8% in energy-related CO2 emissions in late 2021".

"The emissions in 2021 are clear signals of how important it is to deliver the actions identified in our national Climate Action Plan, without delay," she added.

Today's report details how the amount of energy generated by renewable means fell from 13.3% in 2020 to 11.8% in 2021. The use of coal, which took up some of the gap left by lower renewables more than doubled to 7.1%. The use of peat fell from 3.1% to 1.9%.

Emissions of CO2 from electricity generation increased by 16.9% last year.

Lower wind speeds and lower rainfall amounts saw the percentage of electricity generated by renewables fall from 42% in 2020 to 35% last year.

Wind energy fell by 15.8% while hydro-electric generation fell 19.6%.

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The use of coal and oil in the generation of electricity "more than tripled" as a result. Last year coal accounted for 14% of generation and oil accounted for 7.5%, the SEAI said.

Ireland imported 77% of its energy needs in 2021. This was up from 72.1% in 2020.

The increase is largely due to the gradual depletion of the Corrib gas field. This accounted for 28.7% of Ireland's natural gas in 2021, down from 36.2% in 2020.