Major step forward to bring renewable gas on to gas network

Mitchelstown renewable gas project can supply up to 56,000 homes. Renewable gas has potential to deliver 6,500 jobs for rural Ireland.

November 28th: Gas Networks Ireland has confirmed that a project to inject large volumes of renewable gas onto the natural gas network, has been shortlisted for €8m of funding under The Climate Action Fund.  The GRAZE Gas project will be a major step in achieving Gas Networks Ireland’s target to deliver 20% of Ireland’s gas supply by 2030 and 50% by 2050.   The total value of the project is just under €29m and is part of a larger investment by Gas Networks Ireland in renewable gas.  This announcement confirms the Government’s support for Gas Networks Ireland’s long-term vision for how the gas network can play a key role in decarbonising Ireland’s energy, transport and agriculture sectors.

The GRAZE Gas project will be located in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork.  It will involve the development of a Central Grid Injection (CGI) facility, through which renewable gas will enter the grid.  The facility will enable the development of on-farm anaerobic digestion (AD) plants, which will supply the CGI plant.  This model will be similar to that used by dairy co-ops, gas will be transported by road, in special tankers, to the CGI facility.

It is intended that the Mitchelstown facility will be the first of 17 transmission connected facilities, delivering renewable gas into the natural gas network. 

The Graze Gas project will deliver the following key outputs;

Metric Output

Annual Gas Output from Mitchelstown central injection facility

590 GWh

 

~8% of Ireland’s residential gas demand 

Annual Houses Heated

Equates to gas demand from 56,000 homes (standard new homes)

Annual HGVs supplied

Equates to gas demand from 1,750 CNG trucks

Annual Co2 Emissions Saved

170,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum (at max capacity) + 27,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum avoided from agricultural emissions

CNG refilling stations built

2

CNG vehicles supported

74

Gas Networks Ireland Managing Director, Denis O’Sullivan: “Ireland’s gas network is a €2.6bn asset, owned by the Irish State.  It is an asset which has a critical role to play in Ireland’s energy future and in the journey to decarbonisation that we are on. Gas Networks Ireland is helping to deliver a cleaner energy supply through innovation in key areas such as renewable gas.  Combining the strength of our existing network, with a commitment to innovation will deliver the most cost effective and secure solution to our energy challenges, allowing our economy to prosper into the future.  Today’s announcement is another important step forward in our renewable gas strategy.”

Ireland has the highest potential for biogas production per capita within the EU by 2030 European Commission.  The first renewable gas will come on to the Irish gas network at the end of this year, from a facility in Cush, Co. Kildare. It is estimated that the development of full renewable gas network will support the creation of 6,500 jobs, mainly in rural communities.  The development of an indigenous, reliable energy source will also significantly enhance energy security and reduce our use of imported fuel. 

Renewable gas is a direct substitute for natural gas.  More importantly, it can replace heavily polluting fuels such as coal, oil and peat   It can be used in power generation, heating and transport.  A KPMG report, published early in 2018, has indicated that using renewable gas is the most cost-effective way of decarbonizing the heating of the 1m homes located close to the existing gas network.   The deployment of renewable gas in Ireland’s energy system will have a direct impact on Ireland’s renewable energy targets.  It will also deliver a substantial reduction in Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions. 

In addition to the development of the CGI facility and associated logistics vehicles, the GRAZE project will fund the development of two Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations.  These CNG stations will be part of a network of over 70 stations being developed by Gas Networks Ireland, which will allow HGV and Bus operators to switch from diesel to renewable gas.  Switching these large vehicles can help to substantially reduce Ireland’s transport emissions, with a 99% reduction in particulate matter when compared to diesel.

The GRAZE Gas project is being funded under the first phase of the Climate Action Fund, administered by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.  The project will be implemented between 2019 and 2022. 

ENDS/

Further Information:
Murray

Joe Heron                         01 4980315 / 087 6909735

About Gas Networks Ireland
Gas Networks Ireland is part of Ervia. Our core purpose is to ensure that over 700,000 Irish homes and businesses receive a safe, efficient and secure supply of natural gas, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We own, operate, build and maintain the natural gas network in Ireland and connect all customers to the network.

Statistics regarding the Gas Network and Gas Networks Ireland:

Network Statistics  

Network Size

14,172 km

Customer Number

700,000 (filling Croke Park 9 times over)

Counties

21

Gas Transported 2017

74,000 GWh

Capital Expenditure 2017

€147m
Energy Market Statistics  

NG as % of Power Gen

52% (rising)

NG as % of Primary Energy

~30% (29.4%)

NG as % of Final Energy Consumption

16%

Company Performance 2017  

Revenue 2017

€473m

Profit Before Tax 2017

€150m

Dividend to State 2017

€148m

Employees

539

About Renewable Gas
Renewable gas is produced through a process called anaerobic digestion (AD).  The gas is identical in composition and use as natural gas, but it is produced using entirely renewable processes.  The main feedstocks for renewable gas are animal waste, municipal waste and grass.   The use of animal waste in particular, has a benefit in reducing the emissions from Ireland’s rapidly expanding dairy and beef industries. 

About GRAZE
GRAZE Gas, is a stand-alone project that runs from 2019 to 2022 and involves the installation of the first transmission connected Central Grid Injection (CGI) facility for renewable gas1, a renewable gas logistics operation, 2 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations and a grant scheme to support circa 74 CNG vehicles. The GRAZE Gas project will be located in Munster with the CGI facility being installed in Mitchelstown. The CGI facility will be serviced by Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants that are being built in the area and will be built in the future. The renewable gas logistics operation element of the GRAZE Gas project will transport the renewable gas from the AD plants to the CGI facility so that it can be injected into the national gas network.
The renewable gas logistics operation will be made up of four trucks and thirty trailer units that will service the Mitchelstown area to transport renewable gas to the CGI facility. The development of the first transmission connected CGI facility for renewable gas is an essential part of the GRAZE Gas project. The Mitchelstown location has been chosen for the renewable gas CGI facility because there is huge potential in this area for farm-based AD plants that will be fed by a variety of feedstocks, including food waste, slurry and other farm wastes.
Both Food Harvest 2020 and Food Wise 2025 call for significant increases in agricultural production, utilising Ireland’s ability to increase agricultural output to its full potential. A significant downside identified with the plans is the increase in carbon emissions from agriculture, and further increasing GHGs in the non-Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) sector. Renewable gas produced from agricultural waste can achieve significant carbon savings which can be off-set against agriculture emissions.
GRAZE Gas provides an end to end solution for contributing to the decarbonisation of both the Transport and Heat sectors. Renewable gas will flow into the transport sector through CNG stations which are connected to the national gas network. The project will support fleet operators and hauliers as they transition their fleets to CNG vehicles. GNI has set a target to support 74 CNG vehicles which, on average, could assist circa thirty fleet operators/hauliers.