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Staycations and bad weather helped to boost demand for gas

Staycations and the reopening of hospitality and leisure venues have spurred gas demand to near normal levels.

But while overall gas demand climbed 4.1pc in July compared to June, it remains 3.7pc lower than a year ago, according to Gas Networks Ireland.

Gas demand in the hospitality and leisure sector was just 1pc below where it was 12 months ago in July.

But in the construction sector, gas demand last month was up 26pc compared to June – but was still 40pc lower than it was in July of last year.

The figures from Gas Networks Ireland, which is part of semi-State company Ervia, also show that gas demand from large businesses was up 4.1pc last month compared to July 2019, following a significant decline during the lockdown.

In the food and beverage sector, demand for gas in July was 3.2pc higher than a year earlier. Demand in the sector remained strong during the lockdown, according to Gas Networks Ireland.

It also said that residential gas demand climbed last month as poor weather prompted consumers to turn on the heating.

Residential demand is now ahead of 2019 levels.

“Some sectors are returning to the year-on-year growth we saw in the first quarter, while others continue to see an element of the fall-out from Covid-19,” said Gas Networks Ireland’s head of regulatory affairs, Brian Mullins.

“The increase in energy demand reflects the Irish economy beginning to reopen,” he added.

“Energy demand is an important indicator of economic activity and this is a positive signal for our economy.”

Gas Networks Ireland said that gas provided the majority of Ireland’s power generation requirement last month, averaging 58pc for July and peaking at 80pc.

For the first half of 2020, gas provided 50pc of all power generation, and wind provided 39pc. Year on year, gas demand for power generation in July was 6pc lower.

Mr Mullins insisted that gas will play an “increasingly important role” in providing energy security as Ireland decarbonises.

The Kinsale Gas Fields have been decommissioned and the Corrib field off the west coast is now the only major source of indigenous gas production.

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