Renewable gas certification scheme live in Ireland

Gas Networks Ireland to provide Guarantees of Origin for renewable gases

August 19, 2022: Ireland has taken another significant step towards meeting its climate action targets, with a formal certification process now in place for renewable gases entering the national network.

With an increased focus on the need for renewable gases, such as biomethane and hydrogen, to replace natural gas in Ireland’s energy mix and enhance Ireland’s security and diversity of supply in light of recent climate reports and the invasion of Ukraine, the establishment of a national Renewable Gas Registry is both timely and critical to the industry’s success.

Gas Networks Ireland has been appointed as the body responsible for issuing Guarantees of Origin for renewable gases in line with European Union (Renewable Energy) Regulations 2022, which has just passed into Irish law.

The national gas network operators will issue Guarantees of Origin in accordance with a supervisory framework to be established by the Commission for Regulation of Utilities, meaning that producers of renewable gas will be issued with a Guarantee of Origin for every megawatt hour of renewable gas injected into Ireland’s national gas network.

Gas Networks Ireland’s Director of Customer and Business Development, David Kelly, said the registry is a key function for the development of a renewable gas industry in Ireland.

“Each certificate represents Gas Networks Ireland’s guarantee that the equivalent amount of renewable gas has been injected into the gas network,” Mr Kelly said

“By providing an objective means of tracking the commercial transactions of renewable gas through the supply chain, Ireland's Renewable Gas Registry will help establish trust in the market and confidence in the renewable gas sector, supporting the expansion of production, providing certainty for customers and providing an incentive for gas producers to inject renewable gas into the network.”

Carbon neutral biomethane made from farm and food waste began seamlessly replacing natural gas in Ireland in small volumes in 2019, via the country’s first renewable gas injection point in Cush, Co Kildare, and Gas Networks Ireland is currently preparing to build a second injection facility in Mitchelstown, Co Cork.

Gas Networks Ireland is also working to understand the full potential of hydrogen, which can be produced from renewable electricity, in Ireland and ensure that the gas network is capable of safely transporting and storing both blended and 100% hydrogen into the future at its new Network Innovation Centre in Citywest, Co Dublin.

Mr Kelly said there has been significant growth in demand from businesses looking to source sustainable and indigenous fuel alternatives.

“Many large energy users wish to procure renewable gas because they recognise the importance of reducing their carbon footprint and moving towards a more sustainable future for their company and customers,” Mr Kelly said.

Renewable gas certificates have been administered by registries in several European countries to meet the need for title-tracking of the green value of gas blends - from both conventional and renewable origins - injected into their national gas networks.

Gas Networks Ireland started issuing renewable certificates on a voluntary basis in 2020, while awaiting appointment as the competent body for renewable gas Guarantees of Origin for Ireland.

Ireland’s Renewable Gas Registry is compliant with the requirements of the EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED) II. The Guarantee of Origin certificate is defined under RED II European regulations and discloses the origin of the renewable gas to the end-consumer via a book and claim system.

RED II contains sustainability and greenhouse gas savings criteria, applicable to certain end-uses and market sectors. Where these criteria apply, compliance must be verified independently under specific schemes approved by the European Commission.

A Proof of Origin certificate confirms the mass balancing of the renewable gas through the network, from injection to withdrawal. A Proof of Origin will have proof of sustainability documentation inseparably connected to it.

Certification at the producer level involves ensuring the sustainability criteria are complied with and performing the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) calculation.

Currently the sustainability of biomethane produced in Ireland can be verified by one of the three EU Voluntary Schemes – the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), RedCert or BetterBiomas.

These three schemes have been approved by the European Commission to verify compliance of biomethane production with the sustainability and greenhouse gas criteria in RED/RED II.