The number of homes and businesses in Ireland being upgraded to improve energy efficiency needs to treble.
That’s the key recommendation from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) if the country is to reach its 20% energy efficiency target by 2020.
That’s equivalent to saving 31,925GWh of power.
The SEAI said consumers saved more than €700 million (£567m) on energy costs and cut 2.8 million tonnes of CO2 by the end of 2014.
Achieving the 2020 target will deliver total savings of 7.6 million tonnes of CO2 and €2.4 billion (£1.94bn) annually in reduced energy bills.
The ‘Ireland’s Energy Targets – Progress, Ambition and Impacts’ report also said the number of homes using renewable heat technology needs to increase sevenfold.
The SEAI believes the annual build rate of onshore wind needs to increase to around 125 turbines, generating between 250MW and 300MW of power per year.
The use of biomass for electricity generation should also rise and 30MW of ocean energy must be deployed, the report states.
It adds the amount of biofuel needs to be tripled and one fifth of new cars would have to be electric within the next five years.
Dr Eimear Cotter, Head of Low Carbon Technologies with SEAI said: “We have made substantial progress to date but continued action across all of society is required if we are to move Ireland’s energy system onto a low carbon pathway.”