Gas Networks Ireland outlines plan to reduce Ireland’s carbon emissions by a third with Vision 2050

Ireland’s gas network to be net zero carbon

Gas Networks Ireland, together with its parent company Ervia, today published Vision 2050 - A Net Zero Carbon Gas Network for Ireland. Through a combination of technologies, Gas Networks Ireland sets out how it can reduce Ireland’s total carbon emissions by one third and create a net zero carbon gas network.

Gas Networks Ireland’s vision is that by 2050 half of the gas on Ireland’s network will be renewable gas and hydrogen. The other half will be ‘abated gas’ where carbon dioxide has been removed through the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) process, preventing emissions from entering the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.

Cathal Marley, Interim CEO of Ervia said “We believe that natural gas with CCS along with renewable gas and hydrogen are all part of our energy future. We welcome the Climate Change Advisory Council’s recent statement that highlighted the importance of natural gas as a transition fuel and that if we are to decarbonise the Irish economy by 2050 there will be a need for significant deployment of CCS with natural gas as a component of Ireland’s energy system.  This is aligned with the core part of our Vision 2050 roadmap”.

Vision 2050 outlines the role that the gas network and key technologies such as renewable gas, compressed natural gas (CNG) for transport, CCS and hydrogen will play in tackling climate change while also ensuring that Ireland has a sustainable and secure energy future.  Vision 2050 demonstrates how the gas network supports decarbonisation for domestic customers, industrial users, transport, agriculture and power generation. 

Denis O’Sullivan, Managing Director of Gas Networks Ireland said, “Because Ireland’s €2.6 billion gas network is one of the most modern and safe gas networks in the world with no capacity constraints, it can be used with minimal investment to facilitate renewable energies including renewable gas and hydrogen.”

“We believe that the gas network has a long-term role to play in meeting our nation’s energy demand and that Ireland cannot achieve its climate ambitions without it. We have already started on delivering our vision for 2050 with renewable gas having successfully been injected into Ireland’s gas network for the first time, opening the first public CNG re-fuelling station as well as working on the potential of hydrogen and CCS technology.”

“We are committed to working with government and policy makers across all sectors, to ensure we maximise the contribution this state-owned asset can make in reducing Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions by one third while also ensuring we maintain a sustainable energy network in the least disruptive and most cost-effective way.”

Today, gas is used to generate approximately 50% of Ireland’s electricity.  A move to 70% renewable sources for electricity generation, such as wind and solar, is planned by 2030 as part of ambitious national climate action targets. Achieving these targets will require a significant reliance on gas powered electricity generation to provide the balance of requirements and to ensure Ireland has a secure energy supply at all times. Crucially, up to 100% of the carbon dioxide emissions from gas powered electricity generation can be captured through CCS, meaning Ireland can continue to benefit from the reliability of the gas network in a low carbon future.

To find out how Vision 2050 sets a clear pathway to a net carbon zero gas system by the year 2050 visit: www.gasnetworks.ie/vision2050/

ENDS

Notes to editor

About Gas Networks Ireland

Gas Networks Ireland is the business division of Ervia that owns, builds and maintains the natural gas network in Ireland and connects all customers to the gas network.  Gas Networks Ireland operates one of the most modern and safe gas networks in the world and ensures that over 700,000 homes and businesses receive a safe, efficient and secure supply of natural gas, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

About Ervia

Ervia is a commercial semi-state company providing the strategic national gas and water infrastructure and services that underpin the growth of the Irish economy. Ervia is the parent company of Gas Networks Ireland, a regulated business that builds and operates one of the most modern and safe gas networks in the world.  Irish Water, Ervia’s other regulated business, is responsible for the operation and maintenance of Ireland’s water and wastewater assets. Ervia’s third business, Aurora Telecom, provides high quality dark fibre broadband infrastructure.

About Renewable Gas

Renewable gas is a clean, sustainable and carbon neutral fuel for heat, electricity and transport. It works in the same way as natural gas, coming into homes and businesses through the existing gas infrastructure. Renewable gas is produced from agricultural and food waste. This is done through a process called Anaerobic Digestion (AD). The output gas is upgraded to natural gas standard and injected into the existing national gas network. The AD process also produces valuable bio-fertiliser which will displace imported fertilizers and lead to improved soil, water and air quality.
Ireland has the highest potential for renewable gas production per capita within the EU, according to a report by the European Commission.  The development of an indigenous, reliable energy source will also significantly enhance energy security and reduce our use of imported fuel.

Renewable gas production can play a major role in reducing Ireland’s agricultural emissions problem and has the potential to support 4,500 rural jobs.  Renewable gas has already been injected into the Irish gas network and the first major project is due to start construction in Mitchelstown, providing heat for 54,000 homes.

About Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)

CNG is natural gas which has been compressed to fit into a Natural Gas Vehicle’s (NGV) tank and is particularly suitable for use in commercial vehicles. It is a proven alternative to diesel or petrol and reduces transport costs by up to 25% and carbon emissions by over a fifth. There are an estimated 25 million NGVs in operation worldwide, and almost two million in Europe.

CNG is the ideal fuel for decarbonising large Ireland’s commercial transport fleet which makes up just 3% of vehicles on the road, yet is responsible for approximately a fifth of transport’s emissions.  Switching to CNG can reduce a Heavy Goods Vehicle’s (HGV), emissions by up to 22%.  In the future, these vehicles can achieve zero carbon transport when operating on renewable gas. Gas Networks Ireland has a strategic plan to achieve 20% renewable gas on the network by 2030.

In August Gas Networks Ireland and Circle K, launched Ireland’s first publicly-accessible, fast-fill CNG station at Circle K’s Dublin Port premises. The project is co-financed by Gas Networks Ireland and the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility as part of Gas Network Ireland’s Causeway Project. 

Compared to diesel, CNG delivers the following emissions savings:

Comparison % Reductions
Emissions reduction Up to 22% reduction on diesel
Nitrous oxide (NOx) 70% reduction in emissions
Sulphur dioxide (SOx) 80% reduction in emissions
Particulate matter 99% reduction in emissions

 

The Causeway Project will see the formation of an initial national refuelling network together with renewable gas injection and the deployment of CNG vehicles. The delivery of 14 fast fill CNG stations will represent the first significant deployment of CNG refuelling infrastructure in Ireland. The provision of a renewable gas injection facility will play a significant role in delivering sustainable renewable gas to Irish gas customers in support of a sustainable indigenous energy source.

About Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a proven technology that captures up to 100% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by major industries and electricity generation.  The captured CO2 is then conditioned, compressed, transported and stored permanently and safely deep underground.  CCS prevents emissions from entering the atmosphere and causing climate change.  Zero-carbon power generation from gas with CCS (abated gas) has the advantage of being completely reliable, making it the ideal long term partner for wind and solar energy

In September Ervia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with multinational energy company, Equinor, on assessing the potential for Ireland to benefit from Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). 

About Hydrogen

Hydrogen fuel is a zero-emission fuel when burned with oxygen. It can be used in fuel cells or internal combustion engines to power electric vehicles or electric devices with no harmful emissions.  Hydrogen can be deployed through the gas network, displacing conventional natural gas.   Hydrogen is particularly interesting in an Irish context as it can also be produced using excess renewable energy.  Hydrogen gas once created from wind or solar energy can be stored in the gas network, increasing our security of supply and reducing our emissions.