Gas demand falls 10% month-on-month

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Overall Ireland’s demand for gas in June fell by 10% when compared to May, and fell by 9% on the same period last year.  

As term holidays started, gas demand from the education1 sector fell by 57% month-on-month. The warm weather in June also contributed to a reduced need for heating in homes, resulting in a 53% decrease in gas demand from the residential sector month-on-month. There were also month-on-month declines from the office2 (-47%), leisure/sport arenas (-31%) and retail sectors (-27%). 

Year-on-year, gas demand also fell in the residential (-47%), construction (-46%), office2 (-32%), education1 (-31%) and leisure/sport arenas (-25%) sectors. 

Gas generated 58% of Ireland’s total electricity powered in June – a similar contribution to the 57% in both the previous month, and in June last year. Wind energy generated 23% of electricity, as it did in May; however this was down on the 29% contribution it made in June 2022. 

At its peak, gas provided 87% of electricity generation during the month, and 13% at its lowest level. Wind energy’s contribution ranged from 1% to 77%. Coal contributed 4%.  

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First six months of 2023 

In the first six months of 2023, overall gas demand increased slightly on the last six months of 2022, but fell by 2% when compared to the first six months of 2022.  

In the first half of the year, gas generated 9% more of the country’s electricity (49%) than it did in the same period last year, while wind energy’s contribution fell 6% to 34%.  

At times during the period from January to June 2023, gas powered almost 90% of the country’s electricity, peaking at 89% and never dropping below 16% on any day in the six-month period. Wind peaked at 79% but given the variable nature of weather dependent renewable energy sources, there were also times in the first half of the year when the wind supply dropped completely and provided little or no electricity generation. 

Summer outlook 

Even though gas demand for summer 2023 is forecast to be higher than in 2022, Gas Networks Ireland does not envisage any disruption to gas supply during these summer months according to the network operator’s 2023 Summer Outlook3.  

Last summer, 26% of Ireland’s gas demand was made up of indigenous gas – the vast majority coming from the Corrib gas field, with a small but increasing amount of locally produced biomethane on the network. The remaining 74% was met by imported gas from Scotland. 

Gas Network Ireland’s Acting Director of Strategy and Regulation, Brian Mullins said: 

“We are working to increasingly replace natural gas with renewable gases and use the existing renewables-ready 14,664km national gas network to reduce carbon emissions across a number of key sectors, while also enhancing Ireland’s energy security and diversity. 

Ireland’s national gas network is a ready-made decarbonisation solution that can be leveraged to accommodate both the renewable gas of today - biomethane made from farm and food waste - and the renewable gas of the future - green hydrogen produced from offshore wind.  

We first introduced domestically produced biomethane onto Ireland’s gas network more than two years ago and the volume doubled in the first half of 2023 year-on-year, with significant interest evident to develop biomethane at scale based on our engagement with the market.”  

National Hydrogen Strategy  

Gas Networks Ireland strongly welcomes the recent publication of the Government’s National Hydrogen Strategy which outlines the future role green hydrogen gas and the gas network will play in specific areas of Ireland’s energy system such as the hard to abate sectors including transport, industrial heating, and electricity generation.​ 
Mr. Mullins continued: “Our network will continue to play a central role in the country’s future clean energy, and we are delighted that the strategy acknowledges how the national gas network can be leveraged to accommodate hydrogen, produced from wind energy.​” 

1 Education’ refers to large educational campuses  
2 ‘Offices’ refers to large office campuses 
3 Summer Outlook 2023