• Dr. Lee Carroll
  • 4 min read

SEAI are improving how we share our monthly updates on Electricity, Gas and Oil data. New visualisation and engagement tools will help improve the overall user experience - co-authored by Dr. Lee Carroll, Anna Power, Ciara McKeon and Ellen O'Neill.

In addition to its definitive annual energy reports and data releases, SEAI publishes provisional monthly updates on Electricity, Gas, and Oil supplies. The collection and submission of this higher-frequency energy data is part of Ireland's international reporting obligations under the European Statistics Regulation.

Annual data-releases and monthly updates are complimentary, not competing, sources of energy information. Monthly updates cannot be cross-checked and reconciled to the same standard as SEAI's definitive annual data-releases, but they're available quickly (typically just a few weeks after the relevant month has ended) and offer higher sampling frequency that can resolve seasonal variations (summer vs. winter demand) and energy shocks (COVID impacts) more specifically than calendar year analysis. When used appropriately, monthly data can even be used to give early indications of annual trends, not only for energy supply, but also energy-related CO2 emissions. 

The Energy Statistics Team at SEAI is in the process of substantially upgrading its monthly Electricity, Gas and Oil webpages, with the aim of launching new versions in early September. The new pages will use Tableau to better help users visualise and interact with the monthly data, allowing them to change energy units, zoom in on specific reporting periods, and combine different selections in customisable ways. Some examples of these interactive figures are highlighted below. When launched, each Electricity, Gas and Oil webpages will have multiple figures and tables, each offering a different insight. 

Monthly gas supply by stream

This figure shows the monthly supply from the national gas grid over the last 12 years. It breaks down the overall supply into three streams - imports, indigenous production, and stock changes (gas stock facilities were available in Kinsale until 2017). The figure shows the long-term trends and seasonal variations in gas supply, the large increase in indigenous production on the 2016 opening of the Corrib gas-field and its gradual decline in recent years, and the sharp short-term drops in indigenous production due to site-closures for maintenance. Users can select their preferred energy units (GWh, ktoe, or TJ) at the click of a button, and can use the date-slider at the bottom of the figure to "zoom in" on a period of interest - try it out yourself.

Monthly oil deliveries by fuel type

This example figure shows the monthly delivery of oil products into Ireland, back to 2015. Again, users can choose their preferred energy units, and use the date-slider to focus on a particular period of interest. Additionally, this interactive figure lets users choose to view individual oil products or combinations of oil products in the same plot. For example, users might want to combine "Motor Petrol" and "Road Diesel" to get an insight into the overall "Surface Transport" category. Amongst other things, the monthly petrol and diesel data clearly shows the "vampire fangs" double impact of COVID travel restrictions in the Spring and Winter of 2020 and the gradual long-term reduction in motor petrol.

Import and export of electricity

This example figure shows the monthly import and export of electricity to-and-from Ireland, through our interconnectors to the UK, and the resulting net import value. It shows that even in months with relatively low net imports, there can still be substantial back-and-forth across the interconnects. We can also see that 2021 was a little unusual, because Ireland was a net importer of electricity almost every month that year, something that hasn’t happened since 2014. This ability to import and export of electricity helps balance loads on the national grid and stabilise the contribution from non-dispatchable renewable generation. This particular figure includes a table that summarises the average and total electricity imports, exports, and net imports over the last 12-months.

Development of monthly EGO updates

While several members of the Energy Statistics Team are involved in the collection of the monthly energy data, the substantial upgrades to the webpages that will be launched later this month have been significantly boosted through the placement of three excellent INTRA students - Anna Power, Ciara McKeon, and Ellen O'Neill. These "Statistical ACEs" led on the use of Tableau software to prepare and visualise the monthly data into the impactful and interactive figures that will populate the new pages.