July Gas Demand Statement

Irish gas demand rose by 3% in July compared to June but was 7% lower than the same month in 2020, with milder weather and the continued closure of a number of gas-fired power plants the largest factors.

The weather was a major factor in the electricity generation mix, with wind falling sharply and generating just 12% of Ireland’s electricity in July; less than 1% at times. Gas continued to do the heavy lifting, providing 56% of the country’s electricity, which would have been higher but for the aforementioned closure of gas-fired power plants for planned and unplanned maintenance.

As a result, coal generation remained high, providing 12% of Ireland’s electricity while the interconnection with the UK, including Northern Ireland, provided nearly 16%. At its peak, gas provided 73% of electricity supply in July, while wind peaked at 53% and coal at 25%.

Gas demand across the various sectors of the economy was mixed, with transport (+61%), laundry (+35%), travel (+20%), retail (+10%), construction (+6%) and pharmaceuticals (+4%) all up on the same month in 2020, while offices (-30%) hospitals (-9%), education (-9%), manufacturing (-9%) and hotels (-6%) all fell, with the warmer weather conditions again contributing to these reductions.

Year to date gas demand is stable compared to last year.

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

“This month’s publication of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report highlights the challenge that we face in terms of addressing climate change and the urgency with which we must act.  Moving away from fossil fuel to renewable alternatives, such as biomethane and hydrogen, is a key priority for our business and for the people of Ireland.

“With the development of our Hydrogen Innovation Centre in Dublin, we are working to ensure that when hydrogen becomes available at scale in Ireland, we can safely transport it through our €2.7bn, 14,617km network.

“We are already transporting small volumes of biomethane made from agricultural and food waste on our network and look forward to this supply ramping up in the coming years as we progress the decarbonisation of the gas network.

“The lack of availability of a number of combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plants shows the important role that gas plays in maintaining the balance between real time and long-term energy security, and facilitating the development of increased (but intermittent) renewable generation sources.

“In a month where wind supply was even lower than normal for July, coal generation was once again high. As we transition to a net-zero carbon energy system, Ireland needs to have sufficient gas generation capacity to ensure that we can meet our energy requirements using the cleanest and most efficient energy mix.”