Wind energy achieves record levels of Irish power generation, while natural gas remains an essential back up
Wind powered up to 75% of power generation at certain times in October, while gas powered up to 79%
Wind energy provided up to three quarters of Ireland’s electricity demand at times in October. However, as is the nature of intermittent renewable energy sources there were also times during the month when the wind supply fell away almost entirely and provided less than 1% of electricity generation.
Wind energy achieved a new record in October by generating 45% of total electricity demand. This was up 95% compared to September and meant that wind energy was the largest contributor to power generation in October - as it was during the same month last year.
Gas generated 39% of Ireland’s electricity in October, down 21% on September and down 10% when compared to October last year. At times during the month, gas powered up to 79% of the country’s electricity generation. The share of electricity generated by gas did not drop below 15% at any point during October.
Coal contributed 7% of power generation in October - peaking at 23%, with a low of 3%.
In a very mild October, with above average temperatures, overall gas demand was down 4% on September and down 2% on October 2021.
However, with a slight drop in mean temperature from September contributed to a month-on-month increase in gas demand in the education1 (+106%), residential (+96%), air travel3 (+72%), hospitals (+47%) and offices2 (+43%) sectors.
Gas demand in the air travel3 (-40%), residential (-21%) and offices2 (-13%) sectors fell year-on-year when compared to October 2021, while the leisure/sport arenas (+16%), education (+6%), manufacturing (+3%) and hotels (+2%) sectors saw small increases in the same period.
Gas Networks Ireland’s Head of Regulatory Affairs, Brian Mullins, said:
“In the two months of October and February this year, wind energy was largest energy source of electricity generation in Ireland. In the other eight months of the year it was gas. Collectively, gas and wind have consistently delivered over 80% of Ireland’s electricity supplies this year.
“October was a windy month, so it is not surprising to see the amount of electricity generated by wind energy increase. Gas continues to be the ideal partner for weather dependant renewables. Being able to harness wind energy when it is available and back it up with the flexibility and reliability of gas when renewables are not available, provides a secure and complete energy system for the people of Ireland.
“This is how a complete energy system approach works in practice with wind and gas complementing each other to meet the bulk of Ireland’s electricity demand. The country needs a ‘whole of energy’ approach to the future. We need to avoid seeing gas and electricity as separate and look at how to decarbonise the end-to-end energy system, not just individual fuels.
Gas Networks Ireland recently published its 2022/23 Winter Outlook, which states that it does not envisage any disruption to gas supply during the winter months.
The Winter Outlook indicates that there is both enough gas supply sources and enough network capacity to meet the anticipated gas demand projections over the coming winter period, including in the case of an extremely cold day that would only occur once every 50 years.
It is expected that about 21% of the State’s natural gas requirements will be supplied from the Corrib gas field off the coast of Co Mayo during the 2022/23 winter period.
Gas Networks Ireland’s Winter Outlook 2022/23 can be found at: www.gasnetworks.ie/winter-outlook-2022.pdf