A new interactive map that tracks carbon emissions from Ireland’s electricity generation and transmission systems will be launched by the Department of Energy in coming weeks.
The new map will be used by the Irish Government and local communities to provide residents with the most up-to-date information about how the country’s power generation system is meeting its targets.
The interactive map, which is designed to allow users to compare the emissions of different sources of energy sources, will be available in Irish local authorities’ local climate change data bases.
It is expected that by 2020, Ireland’s current energy systems will emit an average of 3.8 tonnes of CO2 per year and by 2050, emissions are expected to increase to around 4 tonnes.
The Department of Health has announced it will create a similar map in the coming months.
The Government said the new map would allow people to compare energy systems, and the types of fuel they use.
It will be released in collaboration with the Irish Institute of Energy, which also develops the climate change monitoring tool.
The Climate Change Network, which represents about 20,000 members in Ireland, said it welcomed the launch of the new energy system map.
“The new interactive maps, which will be published as soon as they are available, will provide a more accurate picture of the impact of energy systems on the climate, while also allowing people to monitor their own health and the impact on their communities,” said the Climate Change Networks spokesperson, Dr Sarah McCartan.
The map will allow users in Ireland to compare different types of electricity generation, including coal-fired, nuclear and hydropower, and will also include information about other sources of electricity.
The maps are based on existing data from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which shows emissions from energy systems in Ireland have risen by about 2.3% per annum since 2008.
The increase in emissions has largely come from nuclear, which has seen its emissions increase by more than 15% since 2008, and hydrological sources, such as coal, which have seen emissions increase 17.4% per year since 2008 as a result of increased output from hydropowers.
The department has also increased energy use by coal-burning power plants, particularly in the last few years.
Coal-fired power plants have been accused of being over-emitting carbon dioxide by pumping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
“We are committed to making sure that Ireland maintains a low carbon economy,” a spokesperson for Environment Minister Frances Fitzgerald said.
“This new map is part of a wide range of new initiatives that are being announced to make Ireland an energy leader in the 21st century.”
The Department for Energy has been reviewing the carbon emissions of its energy systems since 2008 when it introduced a carbon price.
It is the first time the department has released a climate change map since that time.
The Energy Minister said the maps would be a valuable tool for local authorities.
“These maps will help to help them monitor the impacts of climate change, such that they can act to reduce emissions,” he said.