Agriculture sees hike in energy use in June

The agriculture sector saw one of the smallest declines in energy consumption during the pandemic compared to other sectors, with a new report showing that the June 2020 figure was at 97% of the 2019 level.

While the last few months have been challenging for many businesses due to Covid-19, commercial energy consumption throughout Ireland is rising, according to a joint study between Savills and Pinergy.

Agriculture, being an essential service, had an energy consumption of 87% of 2019 levels between March and May of this year. That figure rose to 97% in June.

As restrictions lessen, demands are increasing

Retail showed the biggest increase in energy consumption in June of this year, with the figure rising to 86% of the 2019 figure compared to 57% between March and May.

As Covid-19 restrictions ease, it is expected there will continue to be an increase as more retailers open.

Energy consumption in the professional, science and technology sectors was at 79% of 2019 levels in June this year.

Director at Pinergy Peter Bastable said that despite a tough few months for businesses, June’s figures show some positivity.

We expect that demand for energy will continue to increase as many businesses and properties begin to reopen and restrictions are further eased.

“However, social distancing restrictions will continue to impact on some commercial properties, like offices, leading to lower levels of energy consumption than we saw in 2019.”

‘It’ll be some time before a return to pre-Covid levels’

The study showed that energy consumption amongst office occupiers rebounded from 53% between March and May, to 74% in June of 2019 levels. As Bastable said, the figure is unlikely to rise as a large proportion of office-based employees continue to work from home.

Energy consumption in the hospitality sector, comprising hotels, pubs and restaurants, increased to 54% at the end of June, and this figure is expected to increase with many holiday-makers planning ‘staycations’ over the summer months.

The health and leisure sector has seen a small decline, from 50% to 46% – with many of these operators having experienced lower consumer demand or being unable to open.

Head of energy and sustainability at Savills Sharyn McAndrew said it is suspected that “it will be some time before we see a return to pre-Covid consumption levels”.