Third Quarter Gas Demand Statement

Gas demand in 2020 has increased marginally

Gas Demand for Electricity Generation peaks at 90% in August

Overall gas demand in the third quarter of 2020 was 7% higher than for the same period in 2019, according to figures released today by Gas Networks Ireland.

In the year to date, overall gas demand is up by 1%, despite the impacts of Covid-19, as residential gas demand and gas for power generation remained strong through Q3.

Heating demand (residential, schools etc.) grew by 7% between August and September as weather turned cooler, leading to a total year on year residential demand increase of 11% for Q3 and a marginal increase year to date. Gas demand for transport also continues to grow year on year.

The power generation sector is the largest user on the gas network, typically representing over 50% of gas usage at any given point. In Q3, 61.7% of Ireland’s power generation was sourced from natural gas. The reliance on gas for power generation peaked at 90% on occasions during the third quarter, with a minimum of 38% of electricity generation coming from gas fired power plants. This complemented other generation forms, particularly wind, which at times represented over 70% of generation in high wind conditions. From a gas network perspective, gas usage for power generation in Q3 was up 10% year on year, driving a 2% increase year to date.

A year to date comparison with 2019, shows that most sectors are at or close to the same level of demand as in 2019. On a sector by sector basis, gas demand from pharmaceuticals (7%), retail (7%), hotel (5%) and office (7%) are all ahead of this time last year. In contrast, some sectors particularly affected by Covid-19 saw notable decreases in gas demand including Leisure (-28%), Waste Management (-9%) Manufacturing (-11%) and Construction (-3%).

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

"Gas demand for the year to date is marginally ahead of 2019 as we head into the seasonally busy part of the year. Demand for power generation was particularly strong in Q3, with gas and wind now the clearly established pillars of Ireland’s electricity system.

Compressed Gas for transport is beginning to gain traction with a number of public forecourts now in operation. With additional stations due to open in the coming months, we forecast this will be an area of rapid growth for gas demand in the coming years."