Gas Networks Ireland report increased demand from all industry sectors

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Gas demand in the first half of the year closed substantially up across virtually all sectors of the Irish economy compared to the same period last year.

Gas demand from transport (+118%), construction (+25%), manufacturing (+19%), hospitals (+13%) and pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing (+8%) were all up year on year, as was residential demand (+6%).

Gas also remained the main provider of Ireland’s electricity generation through the first six months of 2021, supplying 46% of the country’s total electricity demand and more than 71% at its peak. Wind provided 32% and coal and peat collectively provided10% of power generation

With a number of gas-fired power plants offline for planned and unplanned maintenance, gas demand for power generation was down 6% compared to the same period last year and this led to overall gas demand being down 4% year to date compared to 2020.

As expected, gas demand for the second quarter was down on the first quarter of the year as normal seasonal demand patterns took hold and heating demand dropped.

June 2021 –Overall gas demand rose sharply in June 2021, up 16% compared to May.

Gas demand for electricity generation rose by 17% in the same period, with gas providing 53% of the country’s total electricity for the month and up to 71% at its peak. Wind provided 25% and coal and peat collectively provided 11%.

While gas demand remained steady across most industries, gas usage in laundry (+66%) saw a sharp increase following the re-opening of the hotel and accommodation sector.

Conversely, temperature dependent sectors such as schools (-61%), hospitals (-36%) and domestic heating (-16%) all saw substantial reductions in demand month on month as thermostats were turned down for the summer months.

This reduction is normal for this time of year and despite the reductions, gas demand from these temperature sensitive sectors were substantially higher than in the same month last year, with residential demand up 23% on the same month last year.

The final gas from the decommissioned Kinsale Area Gas Fields also entered the national network in June after 43 years of service.

Commenting on the upward trend, Gas Networks Ireland’s Head of Regulatory Affairs, Brian Mullins, said: “Gas demand in the first six months of 2021 shows the continuing importance of the gas network in delivering reliable energy for homes and businesses across Ireland.  As our economy began to progressively emerge from Covid-19 restrictions, we saw the demand for gas recover and rise across key sectors, supporting companies to begin commercial activity again. Even in the face of outages at a number of gas-fired power plants, gas continues to provide an important foundation for electricity generation and back-up to renewable energy when required. In the last month, we saw the final gas from the decommissioned Kinsale Area Gas Fields enter the national network after 43 years of service.  These fields were the cornerstone of Irish gas supply for many decades and credit is due to all those who worked on the field for the last five decades.”