Tuesday, 13 February 2001
Dáil Eireann Debate
49. Mr. McGahon asked the Minister for Public Enterprise if she has received a report predicting a possible shortfall in gas supplies in the winter of 2002; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3758/01]
60. Mr. Noonan asked the Minister for Public Enterprise if she has received a report predicting a possible shortfall in gas supplies in the winter of 2002; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3755/01]
The Economic and Social Research Institute has produced a report entitled Energy Demand to 2015. This was circulated to interested parties, though not formally published, on 22 December 2000 as ESRI Working Paper 136.
In the period 2000 to 2005, the ESRI project that gas demand will grow between 6.9% and 9.8%. This reflects a high rate of economic growth, growth in the number of households, the competitiveness of gas in the domestic and industrial sectors and the likelihood that nearly all new power generation will be gas fired.
BGÉ have produced their own projections for peak day gas demand, based on the ESRI's projections for annual gas demand, and compared these projected peak demands to the supply capacity likely to be available. They identified a number of uncertainties, including the level of demand and the amount of gas likely to be supplied from indigenous sources, which made it difficult to predict with any precision the likely balance between demand and supply in future years. However, they concluded that, in the absence of any additional measures to limit the growth in demand or to increase supply capacity, there was a substantial risk of shortfalls in supply capacity from the winter of 2002 onwards. The implications of this have been considered by Government which today gave approval in principle for a second Scotland-Ireland interconnector.
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