Biomethane, biomass and liquified natural gas (LNG) are among the measures included in a review on how to increase Ireland's electricity and gas security over the coming years.

The review examines a range of measures to mitigate these risks, including the need for additional capacity to import energy, to reduce energy use, energy storage, fuel diversification and renewable gases such as biomethane and hydrogen.

The long-awaited security of energy supply review only focuses on strengthening Ireland's energy security to 2030 and doesn’t explore options to address the immediate energy crisis facing Ireland.

As part of the review, the Department of the Environment is seeking the public's opinion on the measures in a consultation, which will run until 28 October.

Mitigation options

The list of mitigation options, which are subject to further analysis, are as follows:

  • Strategic gas storage - gas storage that would only operate during periods in which there is a material risk of demand disruptions in Ireland.
  • Strategic floating LNG - a floating LNG facility that would only operate during periods of a material risk of demand disruption in Ireland.
  • Gas package - a combination of strategic storage, renewable gas (biomethane injection and hydrogen) and demand-side response.
  • Additional electricity interconnection - another 700MW interconnector to France in addition to the Celtic Interconnector.
  • Additional pumped storage - an additional 360MW of pumped storage hydroelectricity capacity.
  • Biomass plant - a 450MW dedicated biomass plant.
  • Secondary fuel - increased secondary fuel storage beyond the current five-day storage requirement.
  • Hydrogen plant conversion - converting a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) to hydrogen.
  • Electricity package - a combination of additional capacity of batteries and demand-side response.
  • Recommendations will then go to Government when the consultation has closed.

    Supply and demand

    Ireland’s consumption of natural gas has increased in recent years, largely driven by the increased demand for electricity and some increases in industrial load.

    Gas Networks Ireland’s 2021 network development plan (NDP), in its best estimate demand scenario, forecasts annual ROI gas demand growth of 15% between 2020/21 and 2029/30.

    This strong growth is due to increasing power generation gas demand (driven by increasing electricity demand and other thermal plant closures) and increasing industrial and commercial sector gas demands.

    The sources of electricity generation have also evolved considerably over the last 10 years, with the two dominant sources currently being natural gas and renewables.

    The share of electricity from renewable energy increased almost six-fold between 2005 and 2020, from 7% to 42%, an increase of 35 percentage points in 15 years.

    As Ireland electrifies more elements of transport and heat, it will see an increase in peak day demand.

    As a result, renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, may not satisfy the peak demand so mitigation measures will be required.