37 per cent of Ireland’s electricity provided by gas in February: Gas Networks Ireland Gas Demand Report

Wind energy surpasses gas, generating 44 per cent of electricity

Gas generated 37 per cent of Ireland’s electricity last month, Gas Network Ireland’s February Gas Demand Report has shown. Total gas demand fell by 20 per cent month-on-month from January and three per cent year-on-year from February 2023.

Notably, February was a rare month in which wind energy surpassed gas in its contribution to the grid, generating a total of 44 per cent of Ireland’s electricity. Demand for gas in electricity generation fell from 44 per cent in January to 37 per cent in February, further reflecting wind’s strong performance.

Commenting on the February report, Gas Networks Ireland’s Director of Strategy and Regulation, Edwina Nyhan said:

“Traditionally one of the windiest periods of the year February was a month in which wind energy contributed more to the grid than gas did, in a reversal of what is more often the case.

A closer look at the demand dynamics reflects the continued necessity of gas as a back-up during periods of low wind generation, and as the energy source of reliability and dependability for various key industries.

Because wind energy is contingent on specific weather conditions, it reached higher generation peaks than gas on a number of occasions throughout the month, but also dropped off occasionally, to the point where it was providing less than one percent of our electricity. Gas proved a constant back-up, at least 11 per cent of the electricity on the grid at all times, and often substantially more.”

Sectoral demand

Year-on-year, gas demand increased substantially across a range of sectors, including CNG (+28 per cent); construction (+24 per cent), manufacturing (+53 per cent) and office1 (+35 per cent).

Following a strong January, month-on-month demand declined across sectors such as education2 (-23 per cent); hotel (-13 per cent); leisure/sport arenas (-18 per cent); manufacturing (-23 per cent); office (-18 per cent) and retail (-14 per cent). Conversely, a month-on-month increase in demand was recorded in the construction (+22 per cent) sector.

Ms Nyhan added: “Sectoral demand for gas grew strongly year-on-year in industries requiring a reliable energy source throughout the month. Month-on-month demand also remained resilient, despite declines in certain sectors following a particularly busy January.”

Gas Networks Ireland and AMBER partner on hydrogen compatibility research

February also saw Gas Networks Ireland and AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland’s centre for Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research, join forces to undertake important research to determine the compatibility of Ireland’s gas network with green hydrogen – a critical precursor to future delivery of green hydrogen onto the network.3

Ms. Nyhan commented: “We are excited to be undertaking this research with our partners at AMBER and are hopeful that it will expedite green hydrogen blends for network customers in the coming years. 

Given the reliability of gas in the energy mix, which our February report reflects, it is crucial that we continue to press ahead with our integration of renewable gasses such as hydrogen and biomethane onto the network.

The EU predicts that approximately 14 per cent of energy consumption across Europe will be from hydrogen by 2050, and this research with AMBER will prove a key step in ensuring Ireland keeps pace with that ambition.”

1 ‘Office’ refers to large office campuses  
2 ‘Education’ refers to large educational campuses   
3 “Gas Networks Ireland and AMBER partner on hydrogen compatibility research”