Gas demand in Ireland saw a significant decline in July, dropping by 20% compared to the same month last year, according to a report by Gas Networks Ireland. This decrease can be attributed to the exceptionally wet weather experienced in Ireland during July. Additionally, gas demand was down by 8% compared to June. The construction sector witnessed the largest year-on-year decrease in gas demand, with a drop of 46%. The office sector and education sector also experienced notable declines of 32% and 31% respectively.
On the other hand, there was a positive trend in the demand for Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), which increased by 26% on a monthly basis and by 7% compared to the previous year. CNG is produced by compressing natural gas to less than 1% of its volume. Gas Networks Ireland highlights that CNG is a more environmentally friendly fuel option when compared to petrol or diesel.
The report also reveals that gas accounted for 48% of Ireland’s electricity generation in July. This represents a decline of 17% from June, when gas accounted for 58% of electricity generation. Furthermore, there was a 23% decrease in gas’s contribution to electricity generation compared to July 2022, when it accounted for 62%. Wind energy had a successful month, generating 35% of all electricity in the country. However, due to the variability of weather-dependent renewable energy sources, there were instances where wind supply dropped significantly, contributing less than 1% to electricity generation. Coal contributed 3% to Ireland’s electricity generation in July, peaking at 13%.
Brian Mullins, the acting director of strategy and regulation at Gas Networks Ireland, commented on the report, emphasizing the importance of utilizing wind energy when available and relying on gas as a backup source. He noted that gas’s contribution to electricity generation peaked at 86% in July and never fell below 12%. Mullins also highlighted the positive trend of increasing demand for CNG. He pointed out that although commercial transport vehicles make up only 3% of the total vehicles on Irish roads, they are responsible for approximately one-fifth of transport’s carbon emissions. Decarbonizing this sector presents significant challenges, but CNG offers a viable solution as it can reduce heavy goods vehicles’ emissions by up to 22%.
In conclusion, the report from Gas Networks Ireland indicates a decline in gas demand in July, primarily due to the wet weather conditions experienced in Ireland. However, there was an increase in the demand for CNG, which is considered a more environmentally friendly fuel option. Wind energy played a significant role in electricity generation during July, while coal contributed a smaller percentage. Gas Networks Ireland’s acting director highlighted the importance of utilizing wind energy and the potential of CNG in reducing emissions from heavy goods vehicles.