The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has launched the Government's latest annual report on public sector energy performance. The report provides data on energy consumption and energy performance throughout the sector.
While the sector is much smaller than the industrial and residential sectors in terms of energy use, it spends almost €600 million per annum on energy, and comprises over 43,000 metered energy connections (electricity & gas). The scope of the sector is quite diverse in terms of both energy consumption and constituent organisations, in that it includes offices, hospitals, schools (~4,000), colleges, water services facilities, public lighting, public transport and other transportation services. It includes several large commercial state bodies (e.g. ESB, Coillte, Bus Éireann), the civil service, local authorities and numerous state agencies, as well as several charities that provide services on behalf of the State (e.g. in the health sector).
The sector used about 10,500 GWh of primary energy in 2015, 89% of which was consumed by 337 public bodies and 1,792 schools that submitted consumption data to SEAI through its monitoring & reporting system. Our sankey diagram below summarises the key consumption data that has been published.
Notes: all values are expressed in GWh of primary energy; ETBs = education & training boards.
The following are some headline figures from the report:
- 54% of public sector consumption is electricity, with thermal energy accounting for a quarter and transport about one fifth (on a primary energy basis).
- 70% of transport consumption is in the commercial state sector, which includes the four state-owned transport companies.
- Altogether, buildings account for over half of energy use.
- 35% of electricity consumption is in the local authority & water services sector (i.e. including Irish Water). Water services facilities consume 18% of all electricity used (10% of total energy), while public lighting accounts for a further 10% of electricity (5% of total energy).
- The top 10 organisations are responsible for almost half of total consumption.
- 35 organisations consume over 50 GWh per annum and together account for at least 70% of consumption: the HSE, four Dublin-based voluntary hospitals, six universities, the four state-owned transport companies, seven local authorities (4 x Dublin, 2 x Cork, Donegal), two government departments (Agriculture, Social Protection), RTÉ, Coillte, Bord na Móna, ESB, Irish Water, An Garda Síochána, the Defence Forces, Irish Prison Service, An Post, Dublin Airport and the Revenue Commissioners.
- The health sector accounts for 20% of overall consumption and two fifths of thermal energy consumption, including 35% of natural gas consumption.
All public bodies have a target to achieve a 33% energy efficiency improvement by 2020, compared to a defined baseline period. The SEAI report reveals that of the 337 non-school public bodies that reported data, 277 have improved their performance since their baselines and almost half are 'on track' to meet their 33% target.
Overall, the sector has improved its energy performance by 21% and is therefore approximately two thirds of the way to meeting its 33%-by-2020 energy efficiency target. However, the report notes that 'achieving the remaining 12% is likely to be more challenging'.
The annual savings achieved by 2015 amount to 2,442 GWh, which is equivalent to €154 million of avoided expenditure and 548,000 tonnes of avoided CO2 emissions per annum.
The SEAI report is based on analysis undertaken by Byrne Ó Cléirigh and summarises data that has been submitted through SEAI's public sector energy monitoring & reporting (M&R) system. Byrne Ó Cléirigh played a lead role in the development of this system and continues to work closely with SEAI on its implementation and ongoing development.