Emerging from the pandemic, international social and economic activity has ramped up demands on energy across the globe. In addition to the urgent humanitarian crisis, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought about new energy challenges right across Europe. This has resulted in significant increases in the price of oil and natural gas which has, in turn, led to higher retail prices for petrol, diesel, heating oil, gas and electricity – not just in Ireland, but internationally.
The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications established an Energy Security Emergency Group (ESEG) to address Ireland’s energy security needs in the context of the war in Ukraine. The ESEG is coordinating and overseeing national-level activity and responses in relation to the impact of the war on energy security, which is defined by the International Energy Agency (IEA) as the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price.
The group includes representatives from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the National Oil Reserves Agency, the Commission for Regulation of Utilities, Gas Networks Ireland, EirGrid and the SEAI. The work of the group includes:
- overseeing the implementation of the National Energy Security Framework which has set out our national response to the impacts on the energy sector
- coordinating a response to support consumers and businesses (with a focus on financially vulnerable households and those in or at risk of energy poverty)
- ensuring emergency plans are up to date and stress tested
In April, the government published the National Energy Security Framework which coordinates work on energy security across the oil, gas and electricity sectors, and sets out a ‘whole-of-government’ response to energy security, including a key focus on energy affordability.
The Framework sets out the government’s action in response to these issues under key headings:
- managing the impact on consumers and businesses
- ensuring security of energy supply in the near-term
- reducing our dependency on imported fossil fuels
The nationwide Reduce Your Use campaign is a key part of the government’s wider approach under this Framework. The public information campaign promotes and encourages energy efficiency while highlighting the range of government supports that are available for households and businesses to assist with rising energy costs.
The campaign will be phased over the coming year, tailored for different seasons, activities and energy demands. It will highlight how war and conflicts are affecting energy costs across Europe and how, now, more than ever, we need to be mindful of how we use energy in our daily lives – from the moment we wake until we switch off the lights at night. The campaign has a mobilising message that people can take actions in their own homes, and together reduce the impact of rising energy costs and wider international energy challenges.
Energy efficiency advice within the campaign is provided by experts at the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). It is practical and evidenced-based, detailing what actions can help to save the most money and energy. www.seai.ie