February Demand Statement

Gas demand in February was down compared to the same month last year, as strong wind generation outweighed the impact of demand increases from industrial users.  Total gas demand for the month was down 3% on the same month in 2020, but gas demand for 2021 year to date remains up by 5%.

Favourable weather conditions for wind in February led to wind generation powering 51% of the country’s electricity requirements - the second highest contribution on record from wind. This follows a pattern of recent years where February is the month with the highest share of wind energy.

At its peak, wind provided 75% of demand with a low of 9% during February 2021. When it dipped, it was gas that stepped up, providing between 20% and 68% of power generation daily to close at 38% of power generation. Year to date, gas demand for power generation is up by 2%.

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

Ireland met its 40% renewables targets for electricity in 2020 thanks in large part to the continued contribution of wind which remained very strong in February. Renewables such as wind and solar will play a critical role in meeting our energy needs going forward, but will always be weather dependant."

The importance of gas in Ireland’s energy mix during this transition to renewable energy sources cannot be overstated. The gas network remains the cornerstone of power generation powering 51% of the country’s electricity requirements in 2020 and more than 85% at its peak in August that year."

It was only a few weeks ago during January that gas demand reached the highest monthly level in over a decade and the third highest ever. Gas will continue work in tandem with renewables to provide the secure backup required as larger emitters of carbon emissions such as coal and peat generation are phased out.

Gas demand in industry rose in many sectors during February 2021.  Health focussed sectors continued to perform strongly, Hospitals (10.9%), Medical Devices (11.9%), Pharma (7%). Demand from Manufacturing has soared 21% in comparison to the same month last year.  Construction demand was also up year on year as cement manufacturers began to rebuild inventories.

The continued impact of Covid-19 is evident, with gas demand for market segments such as education (-5%), laundry (-50%), office (-12%) and logistics (-4.8%) all down year on year. Gas demand for residential customers was down 6% in February, when compared to the same month in 2020, with seasonally mild conditions evident.  Gas demand for residential customers remains 5% ahead of year to date in 2020. 

Demand for gas in transport continues to rise. Demand rose by nearly 20% between January and February. Gas Networks Ireland has recently launched a €2.9m fund to support Irish haulage companies to switch from diesel vehicles to cleaner Compressed Natural Gas vehicles.

The targets for renewables in transport and heating remain challenging. The gas network as an enabler of renewable gases for homes and transport is key to meeting those targets.  The growth in Compressed Natural Gas for use in transport sectors, continues to be encouraging.  By transitioning first to CNG and then progressing to renewable gases, we can substantially decarbonise this part of our economy,” Mr Mullins said.