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SEM Chart of the Week

2020

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Changes: Demand falling in SEM

Cathal Ryan
Cathal Ryan

With the unexpected arrival of Covid-19, there has been a significant shift in human behaviour. We are now two weeks removed from the Irish Government’s instruction to close schools and advising businesses to allow employees to work from home where possible, and we wonder what the impact has been on energy demand across the Island of Ireland. This week’s SEM Chart of the Week looks at the change in demand on weekdays due to this change in behaviour.

That’s just the way it is

Figure 1 looks at the total daily weekday demand across the first three weeks of March. The most notable shift in demand came last week where weekday demand averaged 108.7GWh down 6.0% on the start of the month (116.1GWh). This has seen peak power levels fall by 400MW on average when compared against the start of the month (~6.0GW). On 17 March (St. Patricks day) demand peaked at 5.4GW, the lowest weekday peak demand since October 2019. Notwithstanding St. Patricks day, demand is lower across the working days of the week by 6%

Unless we share with each other

With our counterparts across Europe announcing further restrictions on movement to stop the spread of the virus, A similar approach may be announced by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar shortly. The Dáil was debating emergency legislation this week which would give the Government extraordinary powers to deal with the crisis. Current forecasts project national demand to fall further. This further drop will be predominantly driven by the winding down of industrial demand and suspension of operations at industrial and commercial facilities.

We gotta start makin’ changes

EirGrid and SONI will need to adapt their forecasting methodologies to account for this change in behaviour. A task made harder due to the changing nature of developments and governmental advice. With Tuesday’s announcement that all non-essential retail businesses, sit down restaurants and recreational facilities will close immediately it’ll be interesting to see how the demand is impacted in the coming weeks.

Can we help?