The last three days of November saw exceptional levels of gas demand, new figures from Gas Networks Ireland show, amid a cold snap which saw a sharp increase in the demand for gas to heat homes and businesses.
November 30 and the 28 respectively were the highest two November gas demand days ever recorded with gas playing a key role in electricity supplies in Ireland.
Gas Networks Ireland said the increase in gas demand during November was mainly due to the need for gas to generate the country’s electricity when there was little or no wind energy available.
During those record-breaking November days, it noted that gas produced up to 81% of the electricity generated across the country.
Gas produced 65% of the electricity generated peaking at 81% from November 28-30, while wind energy contributed just 16% on average during the same time.
Overall gas demand increased by 12% month-on-month in November compared to a mild October and saw a marginal year-on-year increase of 2%.
Today’s figures show that demand for gas increased on an annual basis in the office sector by 55%, while demand for gas from the construction sector dropped by 30% over the same period.
There were monthly increases in gas demand from the office (68%), retail (33%) and leisure/sport arenas (31%) sectors, they also reveal.
Wind energy and gas both generated 41% each of Ireland’s electricity in November, today’s report shows.
While their contributions peaked at 81% for gas and 79% for wind energy, gas never dropped below 12% but at times wind fell away to less than 1%.
Wind energy saw a significant month-on-month increase of electricity generation, increasing on October’s contribution of 32% to 41%. But gas decreased from 44% to 41% over the same period.
Gas Networks Ireland’s Acting Director of Strategy and Regulation, Brian Mullins, said that November was an incredible record-breaking month of contrasts which showcased how a complete energy system approach works in practice with wind and gas complementing each other to meet, when combined, 82% of Ireland’s electricity demand.
“Storm Debi, the fourth named storm of the season and described as the most intense yet, hit Irish shores mid-November. Providing ample wind, the storm enabled wind energy to generate 59% of the electricity used in that time,” he noted.
“In contrast on the colder crisp days which saw out the month of November, there was extremely low wind levels which meant that gas and the gas network – being the reliable and flexible backbone of the energy system and key to our energy security of supply – generated 65% of Ireland’s electricity,” he said.
“This served as a reminder that even as wind energy continues to increase, Ireland still needs gas to keep the country’s lights on,” he added.
Gas Network Ireland also said today that despite last winter’s historic demand for gas, no disruption to gas supply is expected this winter according to its latest Winter Outlook.