Energy Institute

How dependent on imports are we?

Ireland has few proven fossil fuel resources and we are still developing our renewable resources so we depend on imported energy to meet the balance of our needs 1.

Ireland’s energy import dependence, like Europe’s, has grown since 1995; it peaked at 89% from 2001 to 2005. Since then it has reduced slightly. In 2014 we imported 85% 2 of our energy needs compared with the European average of a little over 50%.

Figure 1 below shows how rapidly our dependence on imports grew between 1994 and 2001. This was because of the decline in gas production from the Kinsale fields, the delay in bringing Corrib gas to market, and the rapid increase in energy demand to meet the needs of the growing economy.  These deficits and the increase in demand were made up by importing oil and gas to meet our needs.

Figure 1. Import dependency of Ireland and EU

SEAI (2016) Energy Security in Ireland: A Statistical Overview. Available Online

  • Ireland
  • EU

In 2014, we met our energy import requirements from oil (56%), gas (31%) and coal (10%) 3. In 2013, about 75% of the energy for power generation and supply in Ireland was imported.

  • Until Corrib natural gas came ashore, in the years up to 2016 we imported 96% of our natural gas requirements from Scotland. This gas comes from Norway (38%), the North Sea (35%), Continental Europe (15%) and Liquefied Natural Gas or LNG imports (12%).
  • All the coal used at Moneypoint is reliably and securely sourced on world markets. Most of it is imported from Columbia 4
  • Since 2013 we can now import or export electricity via the East-West Interconnector with Britain. At certain times it was cheaper to import electricity from Britain rather than generate electricity in Ireland. In 2014 Ireland imported 7.6% of its electricity from the UK 5.

Ireland has one of the highest energy import dependences in Europe, along with Malta, Cyprus, Lithuania and Belgium (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Energy dependency in the EU member states in 2013 (%)

Eurostat (2015) News Release: Energy Production and Consumption in 2013. Available Online

An analysis conducted for SEAI concluded that, despite the effectiveness of domestic energy policy, Ireland’s energy security has declined in recent years 6. Our high reliance on imported oil for passenger transport and for domestic heating are key factors in our high oil intensity and thus lower energy security. Even though our overall energy intensity was one of the lowest in Europe in 2013 7, it seems that the intensity of energy use in passenger transport is higher than in many other member states. Greater recourse to cars in Ireland may contribute to this.