August Demand Statement
Gas demand continued to climb in most sectors of the economy in August in line with the easing of Covid-19 restrictions and preparations for the new academic year.
Demand from larger educational facilities was up by 7% on July as they prepared for the first day of class. 900 schools across Ireland trust the reliability and efficiency of the gas network for their energy needs.
Gas demand from offices grew by 15% month on month and is expected to continue on an upward trend as offices begin to return to work, albeit under hybrid models.
Demand from the retail sector also continues to show strong signs, up 30% on the same time last year.
Year to date, gas demand is up across a number of sectors, including travel (23%), leisure (21%), construction (18%), manufacturing (12%), hospitals (10%) and pharma (7%).
Gas demand in heavy commercial transport continues to grow (+43% YTD), supported by the opening of two new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) filling stations last month in Limerick City and Clonshaugh in North Dublin.
Gas demand from the residential and smaller SME sectors was up 8% on August 2020 and 5% year to date, with colder weather conditions playing a role in this increased demand.
Gas demand in electricity generation remained stable, with gas providing 55% of electricity in August. Wind recovered after a calm July to provide 22% of electricity generation, with coal steady at 11%. The contribution of electricity imports from the UK dropped significantly to under 6%.
At its peak gas provided 82% of electricity, with a low of 23%. Wind varied from less than 1% to just over 69%, while coal’s contribution to electricity generation ranged between 0% and 18%.
The extended outage of two gas power plants has contributed to reduced gas demand in power generation by 12% year to date. This has been replaced largely by coal (+354% YTD) and to a lesser degree oil (+109% YTD).
Gas Networks Ireland’s Head of Regulatory Affairs, Brian Mullins, said:
“As society and the economy edge closer to a new normal, we are seeing most sectors of the economy re-opening. This, combined with a drop in temperatures, has seen gas demand continue to rise month-on-month. We expect to see further growth in the coming months in line with normal demand patterns.
“Gas-fired generation continues to play a key part in meeting Ireland’s electricity generation requirements, meeting up to 82% of demand during August amidst what is, at times, a tight electricity system at present.”