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A fundamental aspect of Ireland’s national energy policy framework is the Irish Government’s aim to fully decarbonise the economy by 2050, with 2030 representing a significant milestone. The Government has increasingly pushed the agenda of Net Zero by 2050 and recently published the Climate Action Plan which detailed a trajectory towards meeting the Net Zero target. Furthermore, the Government will set the 2050 target in law by the Climate Action Bill by October 2020, in the first 100 days of new Government.

There are many potential pathways to reach the Net Zero target – for example different mixes of renewables, CCS, and battery storage. The outlook for power demand could vary depending on uptake of electric vehicles, heating, and hydrogen demand. Exactly how these technologies are integrated will have implications for the I-SEM power market.

Our latest report, published today, explores the potential Net Zero decarbonisation pathways for Ireland, analysing the implications for the power market, and discusses the key policy considerations needed to reach the Net Zero target by 2050.

Key insights include:

  • The Government’s new Climate Action Plan proposes a 2% decline in emissions per annum from 2021 to 2030 to meet EU mitigation targets. However, the EU’s and Ireland’s 2030 targets are not aligned with Paris Agreement objectives and a 2% annual reduction is insufficient to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050
  • Reaching Net Zero will require significantly more aggressive electrification of heat and transport, and the wide-scale deployment of new technologies such as CCS and hydrogen
  • Alternative pathways exist for reaching Net Zero by 2050. Scenarios with increased levels of renewable capacity could see as much as 15% of electricity generated through renewables being curtailed in 2050 and capture prices decreasing below €34/MWh by 2050
  • There will be socio-economic trade-offs between scenarios that government policy must take this into account. Under the “High Flex” scenario, total consumer costs could increase by €2-3bn relative to today, driven by subsidies for RES

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