Overall gas demand increased by 13% in October

A mild yet very wet October saw Ireland’s gas demand increase by 13% on the previous month, with a 3.5% rise on the same month last year.

Gas generated 44% of Ireland’s electricity in October, down two percentage points compared to September’s 46%. However, the contribution of gas increased by five percentage points compared to last October when it generated 39% of Ireland’s electricity.

While Storm Babet1 brought significant amounts of rainfall, gas and wind energy combined to generate 83% of Ireland’s total electricity – powering 34% and 49% respectively.  During this rainy period, gas produced up to 66% of Ireland’s electricity and never dropped below 15%, while wind generated up to 76% but also dropped to as low as 4% during the storm.  

Wind energy generated 32% of the nation’s electricity in October, which represented a 3% drop from the previous month’s contribution of 35%.  Compared to October 2022, electricity generated by wind energy decreased by 13% from 45% - highlighting the variable nature of weather dependent renewable energy sources.  At its peak in October, wind contributed 78% of the country’s electricity generation but there were also times during the month when with little or no wind available, its contribution fell to less than 1%.

Coal contributed a total of 4% to Ireland’s electricity generation in October, peaking at 17%. 

Demand for gas increased year-on-year in the manufacturing (+34%), office2 (+30%) and air travel3 (+16%) sectors, while demand for gas from the education2 sector dropped by 53% over the same period.

There were month-on-month increases in gas demand from the office2 (+120%), air travel3 (+70%), education4 (+63%), and hotel (+37%) sectors.

For the tenth month running, demand for gas in transport saw another significant year-on-year increase, up 32% on this time last year. Fuelling with compressed natural gas (CNG) can reduce a heavy good vehicle’s emissions by up to 22%, and with CNG suppliers now sourcing gas via renewable sources, BioCNG can turn an HGV into a carbon neutral vehicle, providing the Irish haulage industry with a clean alternative fuel option.  

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

“The month of October tends to generally be one of the windiest months of the year. Last year, wind energy achieved a new record in October by generating 45% of total electricity demand, and in the previous year wind provided up to 76% of Ireland’s electricity at times in October 2021.

However, this October was uncharacteristically not as windy as previous years. This variability reiterates the importance of being able to harness wind energy when it is available and in parallel the critical need to back it up with the flexibility and reliability of gas when weather dependent renewables are not available.

Gas and the gas network are the backbone of Ireland’s energy mix providing a secure and complete energy system for the people of Ireland, but we believe that it will increasingly include more renewable gases like biomethane today, and hydrogen in the future.   

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 several key sectors, while also enhancing Ireland’s energy security and diversity.” 

1 Storm Babet, October 17th to 19th
‘Office’ refers to large office campuses 
3 ‘Air travel’ refers to airports   
4 ‘Education’ refers to large educational campuses