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Natural Gas Generation Hits All-Time High

 Gas Provides Security as Renewables Struggle in the Heat

Natural gas demand for power generation hit an all-time high in June and July of 2018, with up to 90% of the country’s electricity supply generated from natural gas and an average of 70% over the months of June and July.  This was a significant year-on-year increase, compared to a generation figure of 60% for the equivalent period in summer 2017¹.  The substantial rise in the use of natural gas is attributed to the fall in renewable energy generation in June and July, when the warm weather saw renewable generation at an average of only 14%.  In July, wind generation supplied as little as 0.3% (11MW) of electricity demand, resulting in significant variation in output, with the gap filled by flexible, natural gas fired power plants.

Renewable gas² will be available on the gas network from late in 2018 and Gas Networks Ireland aims to supply 20% of Ireland’s gas from renewables by 2030. This equates to 15% of electricity generation demand or the heating requirements of up to 1,000,000 homes³.  EU reports have indicated that Ireland has the greatest potential for renewable gas deployment of any of the EU 27 countries⁴.  It is estimated that the roll out of renewable gas in Ireland will support 6,500 jobs⁵, mostly based in rural Ireland.

Ian O’Flynn, Head of Commercial Gas Networks Ireland comments:

“Gas is fundamental to guaranteeing Ireland’s electricity supply, and to delivering the power required to run our homes and businesses, even when the wind stops blowing.  Not only does gas support Ireland’s vital but intermittent renewable generation, it also ensures that the use of heavy-emitting generators such as coal-powered Moneypoint and peat stations in the midlands, is kept as low as possible. 

Ireland is now facing hugely challenging 2030 climate change targets.  The arrival of renewable gas, a direct substitute for natural gas, comes at a critical junction, delivering clean energy and security of supply for the future.  In developing this indigenous energy source, Gas Networks Ireland is not only reducing the country’s dependence on imported fuels, but is also substantially reducing CO2 emissions and providing a significant boost to the agri sector. The development of renewable gas and other sustainable solutions will require investment and support to deliver the quality of life that people expect as we progress to a low-carbon future.”

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