Gas Networks Ireland Gas Demand Report: 11% increase in overall gas demand in Q1 2024

14% increase in demand for gas in transport in March

Overall gas demand for the first quarter of 2024 increased by 11 per cent compared to the last quarter of 2023 and fell by 2 per cent year-on-year when compared to the first quarter of 2023, according to Gas Networks Ireland’s latest Gas Demand Report.

Demand for gas in electricity generation remained at 39 per cent in Q1 2024 as it did in Q4 2023, while wind energy’s contribution to electricity generation saw a slight increase from 42 per cent to 43 per cent over the same period.

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

“The first three months of the year is testament to how an integrated energy system works in practice, with wind and gas complementing each other to generate, when combined, 82% of Ireland’s electricity demand.   

While wind reached a higher electricity generation peak of 81 per cent1 – one per cent more than gas’s peak contribution - gas remains a more consistent energy source, with contributions to the grid of a minimum of 10 per cent1 in Q1, in comparison to low contributions for wind of less than 1 per cent1 during the same period. 

Gas contributions were particularly strong over the recent Easter weekend2, for example, generating 47 per cent of electricity in comparison to 37 per cent for wind.

Looking further back in the quarter, in the month of February, which is traditionally one of the windiest periods of the year, wind energy contributed more to the grid than gas did, in a reversal of what is more often the case.

During January’s long cold spell, when there was little or no wind blowing across the country, gas stepped up and provided almost all of Ireland’s electricity. However, later that month the gusty conditions during storms Isha and Joceyln, saw wind energy generating 71 and 70 per cent of electricity, respectively.


Gas demand figures for March

A wet and relatively mild month3, March saw overall gas demand increase by 5 per cent month-on-month from February but fall 11 per cent year-on-year from March 2023.

Gas’s contribution to electricity generation fell from 45 per cent to 36 per cent year-on-year and from 37 per cent to 36 per cent month-on-month. Gas generated 36 per cent of Ireland’s electricity during the month, while wind energy generated 46 per cent, surpassing gas for the second successive month.

Gas once again remained an important backup energy source, during March, never dropping below an electricity generation rate of 12 per cent1 and reaching highs of 73 per cent1 during key periods.

In March demand for gas from the air travel4 sector decreased both month-on-month (-14 per cent) and year-on-year (-17 per cent), while industries such as manufacturing5 (+37 per cent year-on-year; +24 per cent month-on-month) and construction (+14 per cent year-on-year; +6 per cent month-on-month) saw significant increases in gas demand.

The transportation sector experienced a notable rise in gas demand compared to 2023, with a 14 per cent year-on-year increase. Fuelling with compressed natural gas (CNG) can substantially reduce emissions from heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and with CNG suppliers now sourcing gas via renewable sources, BioCNG can turn a HGV into a carbon neutral vehicle, providing the Irish haulage industry with a clean alternative fuel option.  

1 In a 15-minute resolution.

2 March 29th – 31st 2024.

3 Climate Statement for March 2024 - Met Éireann - The Irish Meteorological Service.

4 ‘Air travel’ refers to airports.  

5 Manufacturing includes oil refining and data centres. Given the small number of customers in these categories, data is aggregated to comply with our confidentiality obligations.