Gas demand up 14% in March

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In March gas demand jumped 14% on February.

In an unusually wet and dull March, there were significant month-on-month gas demand increases in the food and beverage (+33%), manufacturing (+30%), large industries (+28%), pharma (+19%), air travel1 (+17%), hotel (+17%), office2 (+14%)  and electricity generation (+12%) sectors.

Demand for compressed natural gas (CNG) from Ireland’s road freight operators increased by 25% year-on-year, and it was one of the strongest sectors of the market in percentage growth terms during the month.  This greener fuel produces less carbon emissions and helps haulage companies reduce their carbon footprint.

Gas generated 45% of Ireland’s electricity as it did in February. At times during the month, gas powered almost 90% of the country’s electricity, peaking at 88% and never dropping below 12%.

Wind’s contribution fell by 8% month-on-month powering 39% of Ireland’s electricity in March. Wind peaked at 77% but given the variable nature of weather dependent renewable energy sources, there were also times in the month when the wind supply dropped almost completely and contributed less than 1% of electricity generation. 

Coal generated 6% of electricity in March, peaking at 21%, with a low of 2%. 

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

“Gas yet again proved that it is the reliable backbone of Ireland’s energy system, generating 44% of Ireland’s electricity in the first quarter of the year.

“Gas is the ideal partner to complement weather dependent, less predictable, energy sources such as wind. While it generated 40% of overall electricity in the first three months, there were times when the wind didn’t below and didn’t generate any electricity.

“Ireland’s energy systems harnessed wind energy when it was available in quarter one, and backed it up with gas, when wind was not available. Gas’s contribution to electricity generation never fell below 12% at any point in the first three months of the year.  Another reminder of the flexibility and reliability of gas and the gas network which continues to provide a secure and complete energy system for the people of Ireland.” 

1Air travel’ refers to airports  
2 ‘Offices’ refers to large office campuses