Do we need peat generation?
Peat is currently a useful indigenous fuel for power generation and has local economic and national security benefits. But it comes at a cost with considerable environmental disadvantages, notably the high greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants arising from its use and the damage caused to indigenous peat bogs1. This form of power generation is due to be phased out. Bord na Mona, Ireland’s biggest peat producer, has said it will not open any new bogs and it will cease its peat-extraction activities from existing bogs by 20302.
There are two primary reasons for our use of peat in power generation – the first is economic, the second one relates to security of supply. Peat generation creates and supports jobs and investment in the Midlands. It also guarantees a secure indigenous source of fuel for power that, thanks to the current low price of emission permits, is relatively competitive 3.
The country’s three peat-fired power stations accounted for 8.8% of our electricity requirements in 2014 and 12.6% of the energy input into electricity generation. With a 9.4% increase in peat used in generation in 2014, peat represented approximately 20% of the overall CO2 emissions per kWh of electricity supplied 4 (Fig. 14).