April Gas Demand Statement
Gas generated over half of Ireland’s electricity in April
The critical role of gas in Ireland’s energy mix came to the fore again in April, reliably generating more than half the country’s electricity as the contribution from wind generation dropped to approximately one third.
Gas generated 52% of Ireland’s electricity in April – up 27% on March (41%) and 37% on the first quarter of 2022 (38%) - providing much needed back up to compensate for a fall off in wind, while also supporting a significant reduction in coal generation.
While gas and wind energy generated similar amounts of electricity in the first quarter of the year, at 38% and 40% respectively, April saw gas again being Ireland’s biggest source of electricity.
Wind energy had one of its strongest Aprils on record – generating 32% of Ireland’s electricity – but its contribution fell 3% month on month and 17.5% on the first quarter. Coal’s share fell by 57% to represent just 6% of Ireland’s electricity supplies in April.
At times during the month, gas powered nearly 90% of the country’s electricity, peaking at 89% and never dropping below 17%, while coal peaked at 22% with a low of 2%.
Wind peaked at 75% but given the variable nature of weather dependent renewable energy sources, there were also times in the month when the wind supply dropped almost completely and contributed less than 1%.
Gas was also the primary source of electricity generation over the Easter weekend, providing 67% on Good Friday and 62% on Easter Monday.
A one-degree Celsius increase in mean temperature during the month contributed to a 1% decrease in overall gas demand in April, with the residential (-28%), office1 (-25%), education2 (-21%) and retail (-11%) sectors all falling month on month. Construction (-21%) and air travel (-11%) also fell, while gas demand for the oil refining (+7%) and food and beverage (+6%) sectors were up on March figures.
When compared to April 2021, there were significant increases in gas demand from the laundry (+103%), retail (+46%), hotel (+40%) and leisure (+20%) sectors given the strict public health restrictions that were in place this time last year.
Gas Networks Ireland Head of Regulatory Affairs, Brian Mullins said:
“As we have moved into late Spring and early Summer, gas is playing an even greater role in meeting Ireland’s energy needs. April through to September tend to be the months of highest gas demand for electricity generation, as wind levels typically fall off.
“Ireland’s gas network continues to be the reliable and flexible backbone of the energy system and key to our energy security of supply.”
Announced last week, Gas Networks Ireland is one of nine industry co-funding partners3 of Next Generation Energy System (NexSys), who, together with nine academic institutes4 are working to deliver a more cost-effective energy system on Ireland’s net-zero transition.
Led by the University College Dublin Energy Institute (UCDEI), NexSys is a new €16 million strategic partnership which will examine how to holistically decarbonise the Irish energy sector.
Commenting about the significance of the NexSys programme, Gas Networks Ireland’s CEO, Cathal Marley said;
“Climate change is an urgent global challenge, and we are committed to playing a central role in Ireland’s low carbon transition by decarbonising the gas network in line with Irish and EU environmental policy.
“The country needs a ‘whole of energy’ approach to the future. We need to stop seeing gas and electricity as separate and look at how to decarbonise the end-to-end energy system, not just individual fuels.
“As Ireland’s gas network is one of the most modern in the world, there’s a ready-made solution right under our feet. The gas network can be repurposed to carry decarbonised gases, such as biomethane and hydrogen, at minimal cost and disruption, and in turn play a critical role in an integrated gas and electricity system to decarbonise the country’s energy needs.”