There was reduced reliance on gas for our electricity needs in February, according to Gas Networks Ireland, as multiple storms brought wind generation capacity to a record high.
Wind generated just over half of Ireland’s electricity needs in the month, peaking at 77% and never dipping below 8%, the latest Gas Demand Statement showed.
That was a much-improved performance on January when wind accounted for one third of total electricity output.
The better outcome was assisted by three storms – Dudley, Eunice and Franklin – hitting our shores in February.
As a result, there was a reduction in gas demand for electricity generation, powering just 28% of the country’s electricity in the month.
That was down from 45% in January. It peaked at 60% in February and hit a low of 10%.
Coal powered 11% of Ireland’s electricity generation in the month, which was more than twice the level during the same month last year.
At its peak, coal was responsible for 22% of electricity generation, and fell to as low as 5% at other times during the month.
Gas demand increased month-on-month across sectors with construction recording a 23% rise and the food and beverage sector seeing an 18% hike in demand.
Despite strong sectoral increases, overall gas demand in February was down 22% on January and down 7% on the same period last year, due largely to the reduction in gas used in electricity generation.
“The first two months of the year have showcased how a complete energy system approach works in practice with wind and gas complementing each other to meet the bulk of Ireland’s electricity demand,” Brian Mullins, Gas Networks Ireland’s Head of Regulatory Affairs said.
“Being able to harness wind energy when its available and back it up with the flexibility and reliability of gas when it’s not, provides a secure and complete energy system for the people of Ireland.”
The latest statement coincides with gas prices surging on international markets against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions being placed on trade with Russia.
Although it imports around 40% of its gas from Russia, Europe has outlined plans to reduce its reliance on Russian gas in the coming years.
Ireland does not import gas directly from Russia but any disruption in markets has a knock-on impact on pricing.
One energy provider in the Irish market announced its intention last week to increase its electricity and gas prices by 27% and 39% respectively from next month.
More providers are expected to follow course in the weeks ahead.