November gas demand statement

Gas demand rises sharply as winter begins to bite

Demand for natural gas rose by 18% in November as temperatures plummeted across Ireland. 

While demand was marginally below 2020 figures in recent months, demand in November closed 7% ahead of November 2020.

Residential gas demand climbed 16% on October and 7% on November 2020, placing year-to-date residential demand 4% ahead of 2020 after the first 11 months of the year. 

Gas demand also rose sharply across a number of sectors, despite some retrenchment on Covid-19 restrictions, with demand in offices (+50%), retail (+33%) and hotels (+16%) all well up on October.

In terms of transport, the re-opening of Cork Airport contributed to a significant 116% increase in gas demand from the air travel sector, while demand from the heavy goods vehicle sector rose 11%. 

Conversely, gas demand in the construction sector fell by 12%.

Gas was the largest contributor to electricity generation in November, reliably meeting 38% of the country’s power requirements, with a peak of 68% and low of 12%. 

As was the case in October, wind generation again made a significant contribution to Ireland’s electricity supplies, meeting 34% of electricity demand and peaking at an impressive 77%.

However, at times wind provided as little as 1%, highlighting the intermittent nature of renewable generation.  The significant variations in wind and gas over the month continue to highlight the importance of back up generation as part of the process of transitioning to renewable electricity.

Coal remained high at 17%, with a peak of 29% and low of 5%.  Peat and oil contributed 2% each, with other renewables and demand management providing the balance.

Gas Networks Ireland’s Head of Regulatory Affairs, Brian Mullins, said:

“As we head into Christmas and the end of the year, colder weather is taking hold and the traditional heating season has now begun in earnest.  

“The role of gas in supporting intermittent wind generation was again evident this month, with Storm Barra also highlighting the strength and resilience of our network and the benefit of an underground energy system.

“The Government’s approval of 2GW of new gas-powered generation is hugely important and will help to meet increased electricity demand, facilitate the continued deployment of renewable generation on to the grid and help to compensate for power plant closures in the coming years.

“Gas Networks Ireland has been given the green light by the regulator to move ahead with enabling important works to facilitate future power generation connections that will enhance Ireland’s energy security.”