Figures released by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) show that the contribution from renewable energy sources to gross electricity consumption increased in 2005.

According to SEI’s energy policy statistical support unit, electricity generated from renewables contributed 6.8% to electricity supply in 2005, up from 5.2% in 2004. This was a 70% rise in electricity generated from wind and confirms a trend which has seen the contribution of wind energy grow rapidly since 2004. Ireland’s target for renewable energy generated electricity has just been increased by the government from 13.2% to 15% by 2010.

In 2004 the installed capacity of wind farms in Ireland was 339MW and by the end of 2005 this had risen by 46% to 496MW. A further rise to 736MW is expected by the end of the year, and the installed capacity of wind turbines in Ireland will have more than doubled by the end of 2006 compared with the end of 2004.

The increased contribution from wind is particularly welcome. With demand for energy in Ireland rising in recent years we have witnessed an increase in energy related CO2 emissions. However, each extra megawatt of wind capacity installed in Ireland contributes to security of supply on the island of Ireland and avoids on average, the release of 2,008 tons of CO2 per annum helping to combat the effects of climate change, says David Taylor, chief executive of SEI.