September and Quarter 3 Demand Statement
September gas demand
Gas demand for offices (18%) and education (16%) rose in September compared to August according to figures released by Gas Networks Ireland, as people around the country returned to work buildings and schools in line with the lifting of restrictions nationally and the academic year commencing in earnest.
Demand from travel (26%), hospitals (7%), manufacturing (6% - excludes refining) construction (4%) and transport (3%) were also up, while retail (-5%) and food and drink (-4%) fell compared to August.
Residential demand (-4%) also decreased versus August with seasonally mild weather delaying the commencement of the traditional heating season. Despite this, year to date residential gas demand remains 5% ahead of the same point in 2020.
While gas demand in most sectors has grown in 2021, overall gas system demand remains 2% down year to date on 2020, with the closure of gas-fired power plants for prolonged unplanned maintenance being a significant contributor.
Gas supplied an average 49% of Ireland’s electricity requirements in September, with wind (21%), coal (17%), oil (2%), peat (2%) and the interconnector with the UK (4%) providing majority of the balance.
At its peak, gas supplied 70% of Ireland’s electricity during September and 18% at its lowest point. Wind supplied between 1% and 71%, and coal between 6% and 29% – the highest share that coal has reached this year.
Third quarter gas demand
Gas supplied 54% of Ireland’s power generation in the third quarter of 2021, with wind supplying 18%, coal 13% and the interconnection with the UK 8%. The remaining 7% was supplied by a number of sources including oil, peat, solar, pumped storage and biomass.
At its peak in the third quarter gas supplied 82% of power generation, with a low of 18%. Wind supply varied from less than 1% to 71%, with coal ranging between 0% and 29%.
The third quarter of 2021 saw mixed performance across key sectors with some experiencing significant growth in gas usage compared to the same quarter in 2020 while others declined.
Gas demand in the third quarter for transport (+65%), laundry (+24%), retail (+15%), travel (+5%) and residential (1%) all rose year on year, while offices (-19%), manufacturing (-14%) and hotels (-10%) fell.
Gas Networks Ireland’s Head of Regulatory Affairs, Brian Mullins, said:
“The unseasonably mild conditions have delayed the commencement of the traditional winter heating season and the ongoing maintenance of gas-fired power plants has also reduced demand. We welcome the return of the Huntstown gas power plant, which is now back online and will give additional security to our electricity supply and should help to reduce the level of coal currently being used in power generation, reducing overall energy emissions.
“The recent publication of the Carbon Budget recommendations shows the significant task that lies ahead as Ireland looks to decarbonise our society. In particular, we know that transport, heating and agriculture will prove particularly challenging to decarbonise. Gas Networks Ireland is working to facilitate solutions to decarbonise the gas network, such as hydrogen and biomethane, which can positively impact on the energy solutions for such hard to decarbonise sectors.
“A new report by Devenish and KPMG has demonstrated that biomethane can be delivered sustainably and at scale in Ireland to decarbonise energy and agriculture. We have already into reduced biomethane into the Irish gas network and we now look forward to facilitating the expansion of this sector in line with Government targets.”
About Gas Networks Ireland
Gas Networks Ireland operates Ireland’s €2.7bn, 14,617km national gas network, which is considered one of the safest and most modern gas networks in the world.
Over 706,000 Irish homes and businesses trust Ireland’s gas network to provide affordable and reliable energy to meet their heating and cooking needs.
The gas network is the cornerstone of Ireland’s energy system, securely supplying more than 30% of Ireland’s total energy, including 40% of all heating and over 50% of the country’s electricity generation.
By replacing natural gas with renewable gases and complementing intermittent renewable electricity, Gas Networks Ireland is supporting Ireland’s journey to a cleaner energy future.