Gas demand for power generation reached its highest level in six months in April as wind generation fell to its lowest in nine months, new figures show today.

Gas Networks Ireland said that over 53% of Ireland's electricity demand was met by the national gas network, a 4% rise on March.

Wind's contribution to the power supplies dropped to below 24%.

At peak times natural gas provided more than 80% of Ireland’s power needs in April. Wind topped 70% at times, but fell to 0.3% on other occasions.

Total gas demand was up 9% on April 2020 with the total so far this year up 1.5% on last year as almost all sectors experienced significant year-on-year increases in gas demand.

Several sectors heavily impacted by Covid-19 showed strong growth compared to the same month last year, with construction jumping 168% on last year, heavy transport rising by 154%, leisure increasing by 146% and manufacturing up by 41%.

Sectors that remained relatively solid, including pharma, medical devices and food and drink, also continue to grow.

Meanwhile, residential gas demand is up 2% year to date compared to 2020, reflecting a significantly colder opening third of the year.

Brian Mullins, Gas Networks Ireland Head of Regulatory Affairs, said the country's gas network continues to be the reliable and flexible backbone of the energy system and key to energy security of supply.

"Gas demand figures for April indicate that we are beginning to see an increase in economic activity. Most sectors are now performing ahead of 2020 levels in terms of gas demand with only tourism related industries left to catch up," he said.