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Power Generation and Industrial Greenhouse Gas Emissions Increase by 15% in 2021


The EPA is the competent authority for implementation of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) in Ireland.

The EU Emissions Trading System includes large energy users, known as “stationary installations”. These include sites operating in the power generation, cement and oil refining sectors. Also included are large energy users in sectors such as food & drink, pharmaceuticals and semi-conductors.

In 2012 mobile sources in the form of large aircraft were introduced into the EU ETS. Aviation emissions reported to Ireland come mainly from flights into and out of Ireland and also flights anywhere within the European Economic Area (EEA) where the carrier has an operating licence from the Irish Aviation Authority. 15 aviation operators had reporting obligations to Ireland in the system, including 5 commercial airlines.


2021 Reporting

In Ireland, 105 major industrial and institutional sites were required to report their emissions for 2021 by 31 March 2022.

Emissions from Irish power generation and industrial companies increased by 2 million tonnes (15%) in 2021. This compares with an increase of approximately 9.1% across Europe, according to preliminary analysis of the data released by the EU Commission.

The increase in carbon emissions is due to several factors, including a decrease in wind power availability, a number of more energy efficient gas fired plants being offline and an increase in electricity demand, most likely due to increased activity compared with Covid impacted 2020. Also the relatively inefficient coal-fired plant at Moneypoint was used to ensure that power was available.

Aside from power generation, the increase in industrial emissions collectively is 7 per cent.

• Cement industries recorded a 17 per cent increase overall;

• Emissions from pharmachem industries increased by 3 per cent.

Emissions from aviation increased by 11% compared to 2020, to 5.3 million tonnes. This is still much lower than the pre-pandemic levels of 12.8 million tonnes. However aviation emissions are likely to increase substantially in 2022 as post-pandemic travel increases.

Further details on GHG Emissions Trading are available on the EPA website at

April 2022