Transforming the gas network to deliver Ireland’s biomethane ambition

Gas Networks Ireland is seeking input from current and future biomethane producers to develop the roadmap towards a renewable gas network.

Inviting submissions to inform investment plans to enhance the gas network and facilitate Ireland’s biomethane ambition, Gas Networks Ireland’s Biomethane Programme Manager, Padraig Fleming said:

“We are working to replace natural gas with renewable gases, such as biomethane, on the gas network. This will provide Ireland with a net zero back up for intermittent renewable electricity and help our journey to a cleaner energy future.

“We are now requesting input from biomethane producers to inform us in how best to develop the gas network to ensure we bring this renewable gas to almost 720,000 homes and businesses across the country in the most efficient and effective manner.”

The information will be used to assess the future infrastructure requirements for biomethane integration into the gas network. Gas Networks Ireland as the system operator will compare the current gas network infrastructure to the biomethane production potential across the country.

Gas Networks Ireland will also publish a network development report in Spring 2023 to share their conclusions with those that have contributed and the wider industry. 

Structurally identical to natural gas, biomethane is a carbon neutral renewable gas that can be made from farm and food waste through a process known as anaerobic digestion.

Biomethane is fully compatible with the national gas network and existing appliances, technologies and vehicles. It can seamlessly replace natural gas to reduce emissions in heating, industry, transport and power generation, while also supporting the decarbonisation of the agri-food sector.

Gas Networks Ireland first introduced domestically produced biomethane onto Ireland’s gas network more than two years ago and although the quantity is currently small, it is beginning to seamlessly replace natural gas and is fully compatible with existing appliances and technology.

“There is significant scope for biomethane production in Ireland. With the European Commission identifying Ireland as having the highest potential per capita to produce biomethane, it will also play a major role in Ireland and the EU’s commitment to becoming an energy-efficient, low carbon economy.

“An indigenous biomethane industry would not only support the decarbonisation of the agricultural sector, but it would also provide significant opportunities for rural communities and facilitate sustainable circular economies.” Mr Fleming added.

To date, Gas Networks Ireland has received over 130 expressions of interest from current and future biomethane producers equating to 8 TWh of biomethane.

“This level of interest exceeds the Government’s ambition for domestic biomethane production of up to 5.7 TWh, which equates to approximately 10% of overall gas supply, so we are keen to hear from producers to ensure the network is ready to receive this renewable gas as soon as it becomes available.” Mr Fleming said.