Electricity

The gas network powers more than 50% of Ireland’s electricity generation and can play an important role in supporting the decarbonisation of electricity generation.

The challenge

Ireland has a target to generate 80% of electricity from renewable energy. However renewable electricity sources, such as wind and solar, are energy dependent and intermittent. The gas network is the ideal partner for these renewable electricity sources.

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

How electricity is generated in Ireland

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

When the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, the national gas network ensures the lights stay on and our devices are powered. Gas can quickly meet energy demand when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine to keep the lights on and our devices powered.

Energy storage

The gas network provides a cost-effective source of primary energy storage and transported approximately twice as much energy as the secondary energy electricity grid in 2020.

Renewable gases

Renewable gases such as carbon neutral biomethane and zero carbon hydrogen offer the potential to significantly reduce electricity emissions.

Power plants

With 40% less CO2 than coal, replacing peat and coal fired power plants with high efficiency gas power plants will save significant emissions immediately.

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 intermittent 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

Replace coal and peat fired power plants with high efficiency gas power plants to immediately reduce emissions.

Long-term

Greater integration and alignment of gas and electricity policy and networks

Support the use of renewable electricity in producing hydrogen which can be stored until needed.

What we are doing

Gas and electricity are already working in harmony, with gas playing a key role in underpinning Ireland’s electricity supply and complementing intermittent renewable electricity sources. Gas reliably provides more than 50% of Ireland’s electricity generation on average and as much as 85% at peak times when the wind doesn’t blow and sun doesn’t shine.

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. As natural gas produces 40% less CO2 than coal, converting Moneypoint to natural gas would deliver significant and immediate emissions reductions.

Regulations

Gas and electricity can play complementary roles in decarbonising Ireland’s energy system. A joint approach to policy development and systems planning will deliver a cleaner energy future for Ireland while maximising synergies for energy customers.

Leverage Power to Gas solutions

Hydrogen can be made from renewable electricity and stored until needed. Using Power to Gas could provide a way to store excess renewable energy to ensure it is not wasted.

Hydrogen and Ireland’s National Gas Network

Hydrogen and Ireland’s National Gas Network, provides a high-level overview to interested parties of the current gas regulations and plans. It outlines the main areas that will need to be addressed and actions required in order to facilitate the injection, transportation and storage of hydrogen on the gas network in Ireland. Gas Networks Ireland believes hydrogen will play a critical role in decarbonising the gas network and is supportive of projects, which aim to deliver hydrogen to energy customers, for end-uses such as space heating, transport, industry and dispatchable electricity generation, in a safe and secure manner. While there are different possible hydrogen supply chains, Gas Networks Ireland believes that the re-use and re-purposing of existing gas network infrastructure is a cost-effective gas transportation model. However, currently the Code of Operations by which the gas network is operated in Ireland does not allow for the injection of hydrogen into the gas network.

 
Learn more