New figures today show that gas demand decreased by 20% in July compared to the same month last year, and by 8% when compared to June.
Gas Networks Ireland said that gas demand fell by 46% in the construction sector, by 32% in the large office sector and by 31% in the education sector.
Gas generated 48% of Ireland’s electricity in July – one of wettest Julys on record here.
That marked a decline of 17% compared to June, when gas generated 58% of Ireland’s electricity, and a 23% decrease on its 62% contribution in July last year.
Wind energy had one of its strongest Julys on record as it generated 35% of all electricity in the State.
Today’s figures show that wind peaked at 78%, but given the variable nature of weather dependent renewable energy sources, there were also times during the month when the wind supply dropped almost completely and contributed less than 1% of electricity generation.
Coal contributed 3% to Ireland’s electricity generation in July, peaking at 13%, they also reveal.
Meanwhile, demand for CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) increased by 26% on a monthly basis and by 7% on an annual basis.
Made by compressing natural gas down to less than 1% of its volume, CNG is a more environmentally friendly fuel than petrol or diesel and provides the Irish haulage industry with a cleaner alternative fuel option.
Gas Networks Ireland’s Acting Director of Strategy and Regulation Brian Mullins said the country’s energy systems harnessed an impressive level of wind energy when it was available in July, and backed it up with gas, when wind was not available.
He noted that the contribution of gas to electricity generation peaked at 86% and never fell below 12% at any point in July, which he said was another reminder of the flexibility and reliability of gas and the gas network which continues to provide a secure and complete energy system for the people of Ireland.
“It’s great to see the continued increase in demand for CNG. Ireland’s commercial transport fleet makes up just 3% of vehicles on the road, yet is responsible for approximately a fifth of transport’s carbon emissions. It’s also one of the most difficult sectors to decarbonise,” Brian Mullins said.
“While electricity is a proven alternate fuel for cars, electric solutions are not a viable option for use in heavy goods commercial vehicles. However, CNG is – and can reduce a HGV’s emissions by up to 22%,” he added.
Mr Mullins said that gas and the gas network is the backbone of Ireland’s energy mix – particularly given the intermittent nature of wind – but increasingly Gas Networks Ireland believe that will include more renewable energy like biomethane today, and hydrogen in the future.
“Biomethane is fully compatible with Ireland’s gas network and existing appliances, technologies and vehicles, and its increased use will seamlessly replace natural gas to reduce emissions when using the gas grid, while also supporting the decarbonisation of the agri-food sector,” he added.