November Gas Demand Statement
Gas and wind energy combine to meet increasing electricity demand
Ireland’s power generation is now nearly fully based on gas and wind energy, with 85% of power supply coming from these two energy pillars in November according to the monthly Gas Demand Statement issued by Gas Networks Ireland.
Gas remained the largest supplier of power generation in November, as it has been in all bar two months in 2020. Gas accounted for 45.1% of power generation in November, but strong wind generation, particularly towards the start of the month, saw wind account for 39.9%.
The generation mix varied extensively through the month, with wind peaking at over 68% of generation but falling to as low as just 5%. Peak gas generation was also 68%, but the minimum required generation from gas was 27%. Gas demand in power generation remains marginally up on last year.
While gas demand from construction was up 32% month on month, unseasonably mild weather and Covid-19 restrictions both impacted on overall gas demand in November, which was down by 10% compared to the same month in 2019. However, overall demand on the gas network for the year up to November, is now broadly flat year on year.
Despite larger numbers working from home and an increase in the number of residential customers, residential gas demand was flat month on month but down 22% compared to November 2019 as mild weather conditions persisted and temperatures averaged a few degrees above normal.
There continues to be a mixed picture across different sectors of the economy. Pharmaceutical manufacturing, retail, transport and IT all continue to show annual gas demand growth, while travel, education, office, leisure and laundry services have all recorded reductions in gas usage in the past year.
Gas Networks Ireland's Head of Regulatory Affairs, Brian Mullins, said:
“The strong performance from both gas and wind energy in Ireland’s power generation mix demonstrates the evolving nature of Ireland’s energy system. The responsiveness, flexibility and availability of gas makes it the ideal partner for wind.
“Having gas on demand, allowed wind energy to reach close to 70% of generation at times in November, while ensuring that when renewable generation fell dramatically, as it frequently can on cold, still winter days, that our homes, businesses and vital services continue to avail of critical electricity supplies.
“With electricity demand reaching record levels in recent times, it is vital that we continue to invest in energy security and not take this for granted.
“Covid-19 continues to impact on gas demand in key sectors of our economy. However, we have seen repeatedly that, when restrictions are eased, demand bounces back quickly and despite the turmoil of Covid-19, overall usage of gas in 2020 so far is generally in line with last year’s levels.”