Gas Networks Ireland outlines a Pathway to a Net Zero Carbon Network by 2045

  • Ambitious pathway to deliver a repurposed, resized, and fully decarbonised gas network by 2045 
  • Ireland’s current gas network can be repurposed into two networks to transport 100% renewable gas, one dedicated to biomethane and one to hydrogen  
  • Gas network can carry approximately 30% biomethane and 70% green hydrogen, presenting key long-term export opportunities for renewable gas

Gas Networks Ireland has unveiled its ambitious Pathway to a Net Zero Carbon Network, outlining how the national gas network can transport 100% renewable gas by 2045, thereby playing an essential role in transitioning Ireland to a carbon-neutral economy.  

This pathway details the transformative journey towards a repurposed, resized, and fully decarbonised gas network by 2045, ensuring a secure and reliable energy supply, while supporting Ireland's climate and energy goals. The timing of the pathway for the full decarbonisation of our network may evolve as new energy policy becomes clearer and new energy sources and technologies progress but by embracing innovation, leveraging our expertise and collaborating with stakeholders we are committed to realising this ambition.  

The pathway envisaged by Gas Networks Ireland aims to transport 100% renewable gas, with biomethane accounting for one third of the gas on the network and the remaining volume coming from green hydrogen. By the end of the period, the existing national gas network will split into two distinct renewable gas networks. 

Launching the pathway, Gas Networks Ireland’s Chief Executive Officer Cathal Marley said:   

“The repurposing of the gas network will be key to the delivery of Ireland’s climate objectives while ensuring security of energy supply is maintained and economic growth is protected. Our transformation pathway will help Ireland meet its climate action targets by transporting renewable gas only, while simultaneously ensuring Ireland has a secure and reliable energy supply in an increasingly integrated energy system.” 

"Developing and repurposing the gas network to be net zero carbon over the next 20 years offers a least cost and least disruptive means of decarbonising energy use for many, and a vital alternative decarbonisation path for those consumers for whom electrification is very challenging. While achieving this network transformation has a number of dependencies including the availability of renewable gases and supportive energy policies; Gas Networks Ireland is committed to transitioning the network to exclusively transport renewable gases such as biomethane and hydrogen, ensuring a fully decarbonised energy system by 2045.” 

Key phases of the transformation pathway 

Gas Networks Ireland’s Pathway to a Net Zero Carbon Network outlines four distinct phases in the journey to Ireland’s carbon neutral gas network.   

1. Foundation Phase 

With new anaerobic digestion plants being directly connected to the gas network and work set to begin this year on the construction of the Mitchelstown Central Grid Injection facility, this phase is already underway and will run until the end of 2027. This foundation phase focuses on continuing to ready the gas network to transport renewable gases. This phase will ensure the enhanced security and resilience capabilities of the network, with proven safe injection and transportation of renewable gases. 

2. Development Phase 

From 2028 until 2032, Gas Networks Ireland will concentrate on enabling and facilitating the industry to connect increasing volumes of renewable gas to the network. One of the main goals during this period will be to achieve the national biomethane target of 5.7 TWh by 2030, as well as commencing hydrogen blending and developing initial hydrogen clusters. At the end of this phase, it is estimated that the gas from renewable sources on Ireland’s network will be 14% biomethane and 3% hydrogen.   

3. Repositioning Phase  

During the seven years from 2033 to 2040, as green hydrogen volumes available to connect to the gas network continue to grow, the company’s focus will turn to more wholesale gas network repurposing and hydrogen clustering. By the end of 2040, Ireland’s gas network will be prepared for full repurposing to transport renewable gases only. It is also expected that almost half the gas on the network will be hydrogen, 38% will be biomethane and natural gas will make up just 16% of total gas at this point. 

4. Conversion Phase 

For the last stage of the pathway to a net zero carbon gas network, which will run from 2041 to 2045, sustainable biomethane production has scaled to levels that would support a dedicated network. The national gas network will be split into two distinct renewable gas networks and meet national gas needs sustainably, establishing a larger national hydrogen network and a smaller regional biomethane network. By 2045, it is estimated that there will be no natural gas on Ireland’s gas network and the gas supply will instead be made up of c. 70% hydrogen and 30% biomethane. 

Gas Networks Ireland’s Director of Strategy and Regulation, Edwina Nyhan said the Pathway to Net Zero Carbon is an ambitious roadmap to deliver a repurposed, resized, and fully decarbonised gas network by 2045.  

“Ireland’s €2.8 billion gas network will help Ireland reach net zero, as over the next twenty years the gas network will evolve to transport 100% renewable gases. By repurposing the gas network, we are not only supporting the State’s climate and energy targets, but also ensuring a reliable and affordable energy supply for the nation. 

The pathway that Gas Networks Ireland has published today brings our vision to be at the heart of Ireland’s energy future to life and outlines a route by which the gas network can transition to net zero. Inevitably, some aspects will evolve as we move forward. However, we will remain flexible and responsive to achieve our commitment to delivering for Ireland. This roadmap will enable us to transition sequentially and ensure a robust and adaptive approach to achieving a fully decarbonised network over time." 

The full Pathway to a Net Zero Carbon Network report can be found here: