This working paper outlines a set of forecasts for the likely development of energy demand in Ireland over the next 15 years. The Central Forecast, based on the ESRI Medium-Term Review: 1999-2006, published last year, represents the scenario that we consider to be the most likely. However, because of the wide range of uncertainty involved in such an exercise, we also describe two other scenarios a high and a low growth scenario. In these two scenarios we have varied the assumptions concerning the likely rate of economic growth in the medium term. In addition, we have also varied some other assumptions relating specifically to the development of the energy sector. The requirement to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases will play a significant role in determining the future growth path of the energy sector. While the recently published government National Climate Strategy report does set out a range of measures to be taken to reduce Irish emissions, the uncertainty about the full implications of policy changes for the energy sector is reflected in the range of assumptions examined in this paper. In undertaking this exercise we have used the ESRIs macro-economic model and a separate simple model of energy demand to consider the effect of varying assumptions about economic growth. We first describe the macro-economic scenarios underlying the forecast for energy demand. We then describe some assumptions relating to the energy sector that are imposed on our model of energy demand. The following sections describe the implications of these assumptions for electricity demand and for the demand for energy from each of the different sectors of the economy: households, commercial and public, industry, and the transport sector. The final section sets out our conclusions.
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