February gas demand statement

January and February showcase importance of complete energy system approach

There was a silver lining to the clouds that blew in with the three storms in February, with the trio driving a record contribution from wind energy in Ireland’s electricity mix.

Wind generated 53% of Ireland’s electricity for the month, peaking at 77% and never dropping below 8% – a sizeable increase on January’s 33% share as storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin hit our shores.

The historic high wind energy figures naturally led to a reduction in gas demand for electricity generation, with the trusted energy backbone powering just 28% of the country’s electricity – down from 45% in January – with a peak of 60% and low of 10% during the month of February.

Coal powered 11% of electricity – more than double February 2021 – with a high of 22% and a low of 5%.

Gas Networks Ireland’s Head of Regulatory Affairs, Brian Mullins, said:

“The first two months of the year have showcased how a complete energy system approach works in practice with wind and gas complementing each other to meet the bulk of Ireland’s electricity demand.

“Being able to harness wind energy when its available and back it up with the flexibility and reliability of gas when it’s not, provides a secure and complete energy system for the people of Ireland.

“Gas is the ideal partner for intermittent renewables like wind energy and February’s three storms highlighted the strength and resilience of the ‘always on’ underground gas network.”

Gas demand increased month-on-month across sectors such as construction (+23%), food and beverage (+18%) and laundry (+10%). 

When compared to February 2021, there were significant increases from the laundry (+81%), retail (+75%), hotel (+26%) and manufacturing (+15%) sectors, with a further easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Despite strong sectoral increases, overall gas demand in February was down 22% on January and 7% on the same period last year, due largely to the reduction in gas used in electricity generation.