Irish gas demand 10% higher in July compared with last year

Dramatic increase in the air travel, leisure/sport arenas, retail, and hotel sectors compared with July 2021

Gas demand in Ireland rose 5 per cent in July on the previous month despite the warm weather, and was 10 per cent higher than in July 2021 when public health restrictions were in place, according to Gas Networks Ireland.

Demand increased dramatically in the air travel (95 per cent), leisure/sport arenas (39 per cent), retail (35 per cent) and hotel (20 per cent) sectors compared with last year.

July’s higher temperatures and the peak summer holiday season contributed to a month-on-month decrease in gas demand across most customer sectors, including residential (-39 per cent), offices (-30 per cent), construction (-27 per cent) and education3 (-20 per cent). However, there was a significant increase in gas demand for electricity generation when compared to June.

Gas generated 62 per cent of Ireland’s electricity in July, up 12 per cent on June but 3 per cent lower than in July last year.


Even though the amount of electricity generated by wind energy in July fell by 28 per cent, month-on-month to 20 per cent, it was up 52 per cent compared with July 2021.

At times during the month, gas powered up to 85 per cent of the State’s electricity generation and never dropped below 24 per cent. Coal contributed 11 per cent in July — more than doubling its contribution in June — peaking at 21 per cent, with a low of less than 1 per cent.

Wind peaked at 65 per cent during the month but, given the variable nature of weather dependent renewable energy sources, there were also times when the wind supply dropped almost completely and contributed less than 1 per cent of electricity generation.

“July wasn’t a very windy month, so it’s not surprising to see the amount of electricity generated by both gas and coal increase and the amount generated by wind energy fall,” said Brian Mullians, Gas Networks Ireland head of regulatory affairs.

“Gas is the ideal partner for weather dependant renewables. Being able to harness wind energy when it is available and back it up with the flexibility and reliability of gas when it’s not available, provides a secure and complete energy system for the people of Ireland. This is 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.”

He said the State needs a “whole of energy approach”, and to look at how to decarbonise the end-to-end energy system, rather than just individual fuels.

“As Ireland’s gas network is one of the safest and most modern in the world, there’s a ready-made solution right under our feet,” he said.

“The gas network can be repurposed to carry decarbonised gases, such as biomethane and hydrogen, at relatively minimal cost and disruption, and in turn play a critical role in an integrated gas and electricity system to decarbonise the country’s energy needs.”

Gas Networks Ireland is working on preparing Ireland’s gas network for the transition to renewable energy to help Ireland meet its climate action targets.

“By replacing natural gas with indigenously produced renewable gases, such as biomethane made from farm and food waste, and hydrogen made from renewable electricity, we can significantly reduce emissions in a number of key sectors, while further enhancing Ireland’s energy security and diversity,” Mr Mullins said.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter