COVID-19 impacts: decrease in Irish energy demand

Research from Cornwall Insight Ireland highlights that since Ireland went into lockdown on 16th March energy demand in the Single Electricity Market (SEM) averaged 6% down since the start of the month. This drop in demand is shown in the below graphs.

Ruth Young Training Consultant at Cornwall Insight Ireland said:

“Daily demand on the SEM in the first full week of lockdown impositions averaged 108.7GWh, down from 116.1GWh at the start of the month. The second week of lockdown in Ireland saw demand levels on the SEM very similar to that in the first week, as the country perhaps became accustomed to life at home.

“Demand in the middle of the day does not appear to be as affected by the lockdown as in other countries such as GB, Spain and Germany. This may have something to do with the demand base in Ireland, especially the recent growth in data centres which consume high amounts of electricity across the day, potentially softening the impact of the country-wide lockdown.

“With the current length of Ireland’s lockdown indefinite, it is difficult to say how long demand will seriously suffer for. Naturally, demand on the National Transmission System will continue to decrease as we approach the summer months, but further demand falls due to COVID-19 will depend on the severity of government restrictions on travel and work.

“With the majority of the commercial and industrial sectors on pause, another drop in demand is only likely to happen as a result of deeper restrictions. In the longer term, any impacts of a potential recession could slow or weaken the recovery of demand back to pre COVID-19 levels.”