Demand for gas was up by 12 per cent in August compared with the same period last year when Covid-related public-health restrictions were still in place, according to Gas Networks Ireland.
It said there were significant increases in demand over the year in the air travel (75 per cent), retail (42 per cent) and leisure/sport arenas (15 per cent) sectors.
Demand increased 2 per cent compared with July. The warm weather contributed to a 31 per cent fall in demand across the domestic sector compared with the same period last year.
There were also significant year-on-year decreases in demand within the construction and education sectors, down 31 and 28 per cent respectively.
Gas generated 64 per cent of Ireland’s electricity in August, up 3 per cent on July and up from 55 per cent of power generation in the same month last year. The amount of electricity generated by wind energy in August fell from 22 per cent in August last year to 19 per cent last month.
At times during the month, gas powered up to 92 per cent of the State’s electricity generation, never falling below 20 per cent.
Coal contributed 10 per cent of power generation in August, peaking at 21 per cent with a low of less than 1 per cent.
Wind peaked at 71 per cent during the month but there were also times when the wind supply dropped almost completely, powering less than 1 per cent of generation.
Gas Networks Ireland head of regulatory affairs Brian Mullins said: “The good weather we enjoyed in August had a direct impact on the amount of wind energy available in Ireland, as there wasn’t a lot of wind around during the month. Gas continues to be the dependable back-up source of energy for the country.
“Being able to harness weather-dependent renewable wind energy when it is available and back it up with the flexibility and reliability of gas when there is little or no wind provides a secure and complete energy system for the people of Ireland.”
While operating and maintaining the network, Gas Networks Ireland said it was also working on preparing Ireland’s gas network for the transition to renewable energy to help Ireland meet its climate action targets.
Mr Mullins said the group was working to ensure the national gas network was future ready to transport and store indigenously-produced renewable gases such as biomethane made from farm and food waste, and hydrogen made from renewable electricity.