Our sustainability strategy

Gas Networks Ireland are ever mindful of our sustainability responsibilities and aim to contribute to the protection of the environment while supporting the social and economic development of the communities we operate in. We are proud of the fact that we are one of only 41 companies in Ireland to hold the Business Working Responsibly (BWR) mark and are committed to ensuring that sustainability is at the forefront of everything we do and help Ireland to reduce its carbon emissions.

As a leading utility company, sustainability is defined by our role in delivering an affordable and clean energy future for the people of Ireland through the decarbonisation of our network and the reduction of emissions across all sectors of Irish society. During 2022 we continued to embed sustainability across our business. Our sustainability strategy has three pillars, Environment, Social and Governance, and is aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. While we endeavour to support all 17 UN SDGs, we focus primarily on the six goals which align most closely with our strategic framework. We are committed to ensuring that sustainability is at the core of our business decisions and business strategy.

In 2022, we commenced the process to refine our sustainability strategy to ensure we are continuing to focus our attention in the right areas. As part of the process, we carried out a materiality assessment with our employees and external stakeholders.

2022 sustainability achievements

  • Awards

    Won the ‘Public Sector’ category at the 2022 Health & Safety Excellence Awards for our public safety campaigns

    1 — 17

  • CDP

    We took part in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) for the third time, maintaining our B rating

    2 — 17

  • Awards

    Won 2022 Green Public Sector Organisation of the Year

    3 — 17

  • Community

    Supported 59 community projects and provided over €205,000 in financial support to local communities

    4 — 17

  • Leave No Trace

    Continued the ‘Hot Spot’ programme with Leave no Trace Ireland at Turvey Nature Reserve and Rogerstown Estuary, Co. Dublin

    5 — 17

  • Awards

    Won the Gas Safety Award at the Institute of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) Gas Industry Awards for our carbon monoxide safety campaign

    6 — 17

  • Biodiversity

    Developed our biodiversity strategy and Biodiversity Action Plan to support the National Biodiversity Action Plan

    7 — 17

  • Awards

    Winner of Best ESG Campaign or Case Study to Improve Education or Access to Education. Shortlisted for Sustainability Report of the Year at the ESG Awards

    8 — 17

  • Hydrogen

    Delivered our Hydrogen Technical and Safety Feasibility Report to the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications

    9 — 17

  • Sustainability

    Published our fourth annual sustainability report highlighting progress in implementing the principles of the UN Sustainable Goals

    10 — 17

  • Sustainability

    Presented our Sustainability Strategy at the All-Ireland Sustainability Summit

    11 — 17

  • Reduce your use

    Delivered a Reduce Your Use campaign in our offices in collaboration with SEAI and OPW

    12 — 17

  • Biodiversity

    Developed Landscaping for Biodiversity guidelines to enhance biodiversity at Gas Networks Ireland sites

    13 — 17

  • Trees

    Successfully obtained our first afforestation licence enabling the planting of more than 15,000 native Irish tree species

    14 — 17

  • Energy

    Achieved a 52% improvement in energy intensity for our offices and fleet, from our energy efficiency baseline

    15 — 17

  • Biomethane

    We transported 41 GWh of biomethane in 2022

    16 — 17

  • Lost time

    Our reportable Lost Time Incident Frequency Rate was 0.23 (the number of lost time injuries occurring per 100k hours worked)

    17 — 17

2022 business highlights

Renewable Gas

At our Network Innovation Centre in west Dublin, we have been working with University College Dublin’s Energy Institute (UCDEI) to understand the full potential of hydrogen and ensure Ireland’s gas network is capable of safely transporting and storing this vital carbon free gas. In November 2022, a report on the findings of the initial part of our research into testing blends of hydrogen and natural gas was published, proving that Irish domestic appliances can operate on blends of 20% hydrogen and reduce emissions. Together with our research partners from academia and industry, we’re collaborating to ensure the safety and operability of the Irish Gas Network when transporting a blend of hydrogen and methane.

The volume of indigenously produced biomethane seamlessly flowing into Ireland’s gas network at the country’s only purpose-built gas injection facility in Cush, Co. Kildare saw an eight-fold increase to 41 GWh in 2022 versus 2021.

We were appointed as the body responsible for issuing Guarantees of Origin for renewable gases in line with European Union (Renewable Energy) Regulations 2022 and in accordance with a supervisory framework to be established by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities. Producers of renewable gas will be issued with a Guarantee of Origin for every megawatt hour of renewable gas injected into Ireland’s national gas network.

Ireland’s gas network is already delivering for Ireland, supporting the transition to a cleaner energy future. In line with our counterparts in the UK and Europe, our focus is also on transitioning our gas supply to renewable technologies such as biomethane and hydrogen.

Our customers

A total of 420 small-to-medium enterprises, 33 large industrial customers, over 2,300 homes and 13 apartment blocks contracted to be connected to the gas network in 2022. A total of over 6,200 new connections were completed in 2022.

  • 2,851 GWh - 33 large industrial users
  • 51 GWh - 420 commercial businesses
  • 23 GWh – 1,935 mature homes
  • 3 GWh – 364 new homes
  • 12 GWh – 13 new apartment blocks.

We continued to deliver an excellent experience on our customer journeys which saw our Net Promoter Score (a measure of how likely the customer is to recommend us to their friends/ family) increase one point to +71 in 2022 and our Net Easy Score (a rating of how easy it was to interact with us) remain steady at 83 points.

Aurora Telecom, our division which specialises in dark fibre and colocation services is now the carrier-neutral provider of choice to top global content and application providers. In 2022, we extended our national backhaul fibre network by over 10% and strengthened Ireland’s international and digital footprint by continuing our significant capital expenditure to provide secure, resilient, dual-feed connectivity to both terrestrial and subsea cable networks that span to mainland Europe, as well as transatlantic to the United States.

Our business

In 2022 gas generated 48% of Ireland’s electricity a 2% change from 2021. Wind’s share of electricity generation increased from 29% in 2021 to 38% in 2022, and coal’s generation fell from 11% in 2021 to 9% in 2022. At their peak, gas and wind powered up to 92% and 77% of Ireland’s electricity needs respectively, but the intermittent nature of wind saw it drop lower than 1% at times, while the contribution of gas didn’t drop below 8% during 2022. Coal provided as much as 28%.

Following another successful year delivering on our holistic sustainability programme, we were named the Green Public Sector Organisation of the Year at the 2022 Green Awards. This was our third time to win at these awards, at what is seen by many as Ireland’s leading environmental event for businesses. Judges examined all aspects of the business including waste management, biodiversity, use of green suppliers or materials, transport, energy and water efficiencies, staff engagement and community involvement.

In 2022 we responded to 14,550 suspected gas escapes, carbon monoxide issues and incidents with an average response time of 28 minutes.

Our COVID-19 controls remained in place at the beginning of 2022, and our robust and tested procedures ensured that Ireland’s essential gas network continued to operate safely and without disruption. In March, employees returned to the office on a phased basis as we transitioned from our pandemic working arrangements to our hybrid working trial. In response to the energy crisis, we supported the Commission for Regulation of Utilities initiative to implement a general system wide moratorium on debt-related gas meter locks and disconnections during the pandemic and up until March 2023.

Over the past 13 years, more than 400 of our employees have volunteered to facilitate and deliver STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths) education to over 30,000 primary students nationwide. These programmes include Energize - a programme to encourage sixth class pupils to continue science subjects in second level education, Time to Count – a numeracy support primary school programme, and the World of Work education and career support secondary school programme. In recognition of our STEAM programmes we were named as the winner of the ‘Best ESG Campaign or Case Study to Improve Education or Access to Education’ at the ESG awards in 2022.

Answering Ukraine’s gas distribution and transmission system operators’ calls for support, we worked with the Ukrainian authorities and the European Commission to, together with our main contractors, donate over €165,000 worth of vital equipment, hardware, fittings and materials to our Ukrainian counterparts to help them to repair and maintain their gas system.

Sustainability Report 2022

Our fifth Sustainability Report outlines our progress in implementing the principles of sustainable development across all aspects of our operations.

Read our sustainability report