Electricity

The gas network can play an important role in supporting the decarbonisation of electricity generation.

The challenge

Ireland has a target to generate 70% of electricity from renewable energy. Gas compliments renewable electricity so that Ireland has a secure source of energy when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.

A pathway to decarbonise electricity by 2050

  • 18%

    Electricity accounts for 18% (10.9Mt CO₂) of Ireland's total CO₂ emissions

  • 70%

    By 2030, Ireland's target is for 70% of electricity generation from renewables

  • 8.2Mt CO₂

    Emissions savings possible per annum by 2050 in the electricity sector using the gas network

How electricity is generated in Ireland (2017)

Gas accounted for over 50% of electricity generation in 2017

Fuel type%
Gas51
Renewable29
Coal12
Peat7
Other non-renewable1

Why gas?

Why gas and the gas network provide a smart solution to decarbonising electricity.

Flexibility and stability

Gas can quickly meet energy demand on the coldest days when wind might be low and energy demand high.

Energy storage

The gas network provides a cost effective source of large energy storage. It transported twice as much energy as the electricity grid in 2017.

New technologies

Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS), combined with renewable gas, could offer net negative emissions in the future. This means it would be possible to take emissions out of the atmosphere.

Power plants

Replacing peat and coal fired power plants with high efficiency gas plants will save significant emissions.

Wind and solar energy are intermittent energy sources, which means they are not always available when needed. The gas network provides essential back up and energy security when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. #Vision2050 #renewableenergy #CleanerEnergyFuture

Our vision to decarbonise electricity

Short to medium term

Support increased renewables

Use the large energy storage capacity and flexibility of natural gas power plants to enable a high level of intermittent renewable electricity on the grid. 

Replace peat and coal power plants with gas

Coal and peat fired electricity generation plants should be replaced with high efficiency gas power plants. Natural gas emits 40% less CO₂ than coal and 22% less CO₂ than oil.

Long-term

Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS)

CCS is a proven technology which can be used together with natural gas power plants to provide clean electricity. It works by capturing up to 100% of the CO₂ from the exhaust stream of gas power plants. The CO₂ is then stored safely and securely underground in depleted gas fields. This means that the electricity grid can continue to benefit from the stability and flexibility of gas power generation without CO₂ emissions

Potential for net negative emissions

If sufficient volumes of renewable gas are available in the future it could be used in electricity generation in gas fired power plants. This, combined with CCS, would offer the potential for net negative emissions for Ireland.

What we are doing

Ervia and Gas Networks Ireland are investigating the potential for CCS at the nearly depleted Kinsale gas field off the coast of Co. Cork. If suitable it could be used to capture the CO₂ from the gas-fired power plants in the area, enabling them to provide carbon free electricity.

What needs to happen

Power plants

Convert Moneypoint to natural gas

Moneypoint is Ireland’s largest power plant. It operates on coal, one of the heaviest carbon emitting fuels. Converting Moneypoint to natural gas would deliver significant and immediate emissions reductions.

Invest in CCS Solutions for Ireland

Investing in CCS solutions will ensure that the flexibility and security of gas fired power generation can be retained while eliminating CO₂ emissions. CCS will be key to a cost effective transformation for the power sector.

Regulations

Gas and electricity can play complementary roles in decarbonising Ireland’s energy system. A joint approach to policy development and systems planning will maximise synergies for energy customers.

Investigate Power to Gas technology solutions

Power to gas provides a means to store renewable electricity by converting it to gas. Using Power to Gas could provide a way to store excess renewable energy and to ensure it is not wasted.

Read the full Vision 2050 report

Ireland's gas network has the potential to make a significant contribution to reducing Ireland's emissions. Read our vision for a net zero carbon gas network.

Download the Vision 2050 report now