Storms drove wind energy to record level in February, data shows

Coal powered 11% of electricity last month, double the amount of the year before

Three storms last month helped wind to generate a record 53 per cent of Ireland's electricity, which was a sizeable increase on January's 33 per cent share, data from Gas Networks Ireland shows.

Coal powered 11 per cent of Ireland’s electricity generation in February, which was more than twice the level during the same month last year.

At its peak, coal was responsible for 22 per cent of electricity generation, and fell to as low as 5 per cent at other times during the month.

Storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin drove a record contribution from wind energy in Ireland’s electricity mix. Wind peaked at 77 per cent and never dropped below 8 per cent.


The high wind energy figures led to a reduction in gas demand for electricity generation, which powered just 28 per cent of the country’s electricity – down from 45 per cent in January – with a peak of 60 per cent and low of 10 per cent during the month of February.

Gas Networks Ireland head of regulatory affairs Brian Mullins said: "The first two months of the year have showcased how a complete energy system approach works in practice with wind and gas, complementing each other to meet the bulk of Ireland's electricity demand.

“Being able to harness wind energy when it’s available, and back it up with the flexibility and reliability of gas when it’s not, provides a secure and complete energy system for the people of Ireland.

“Gas is the ideal partner for intermittent renewables like wind energy and February’s three storms highlighted the strength and resilience of the ‘always on’ underground gas network.”

Gas demand increased month on month across sectors such as construction (+23 per cent), food and beverage (+18 per cent) and laundry (+10 per cent).

When compared with February 2021, there were significant increases from the laundry (+81 per cent), retail (+75 per cent), hotel (+26 per cent) and manufacturing (+15 per cent) sectors, with a further easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Despite strong sectoral increases, overall gas demand in February was down 22 per cent on January and down 7 per cent on the same period last year, due largely to the reduction in gas used in electricity generation.

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter