Novel Use of the Gas Grid

Courtesy: Jay Sterling Austin (Flickr)
Courtesy: Jay Sterling Austin (Flickr)

Gas Networks Ireland, Gaslink, Local and National Policymakers, SEAI, Galway Energy Agency

Large parts of Galway City are already connected to the natural gas grid, which means that people, organisations and businesses in Galway can use natural gas for heating, cooking and electricity generation. Natural gas is cleaner and has a lower carbon intensity compared to oil or coal. It is therefore preferable to use natural gas over oil or coal in the short term.

Natural gas, however, is a fossil fuel (and so contributes to climate change) and is also finite. In addition, much (97%) of the natural gas we use in Ireland has to be imported. For all of these reasons we should not be reliant on natural gas in the medium- to long-term. Fortunately, we can replace natural gas with biogas (produced from anaerobic digestion, etc.). We can also continue to use the gas grid network infrastructure to deliver biogas to customers. Indeed, natural gas can be mixed with good quality biogas to reduce emissions. See ‘Biogas’ solution in this chapter for more information.

Another possibility is to use the gas grid infrastructure to deliver compressed air to customers. Compressed air could be produced using renewables such as wind and then delivered to customers to drive motors and other devices that are powered by compressed air. The entire grid could also be used as a giant battery to store energy and used, when required, to generate electricity from compressed air. See ‘Compressed Air’ solution in this chapter for more information.
Gas Networks Ireland, PO Box 51, Gasworks Road, Cork City
Gaslink Independent System Operator Ltd., Gasworks Road, Cork City