Agriculture

Agriculture and agri-food is of vital importance for Ireland but the sector is the source of 33% of Ireland's emissions. Decarbonising agriculture is challenging. Developing a renewable gas industry in Ireland can help deliver emissions savings as well as enhancing the rural economy.

The challenge

Ireland must find solutions to tackle agricultural emissions, in particular methane emissions, while also stimulating the rural economy.

A pathway to decarbonise agriculture by 2050

  • 33%

    Agriculture accounts for 33% of Ireland’s total emissions. Equal to 20Mt CO₂

  • €6.92 billion

    The value of the Agriculture and Agri-food sector to Ireland.

  • 2.4Mt CO₂

    Emissions savings possible per annum by 2050 in the agriculture sector using the gas network

Methane emissions

Manure and slurry spreading and open storage release methane emissions. Methane is 28-36 times more harmful than CO₂ in terms of its global warming potential. 

Since the elimination of the milk quota system in 2015, the dairy industry has seen substantial growth. This heightens the challenge in terms of reducing agricultural emissions.

  • Did you know?

    Ireland has the highest potential in Europe for renewable gas production per capita within the EU by 2030.

    1 — 2

  • Did you know?

    Over 40 companies in Ireland recently signed a carbon pledge to significantly reduce their emissions footprint between now and 2030.

    2 — 2

Why renewable gas?

Why gas and the gas network provide a smart solution to decarbonising agriculture.

Renewable gas industry

The development of a renewable gas industry will stimulate the rural economy, enhance farm incomes, and create jobs.

Anaerobic digestion

The use of grass and slurry in renewable gas production can reduce emissions, including methane, by better land management and slurry management practices.

Circular economy

The by-product of the anaerobic digestion process can also be used as a bio-fertiliser. This reduces emissions and produces less odours than slurry spreading. Bio-fertiliser can also be used instead of chemical fertilisers.

High potential

Ireland has the highest potential in Europe for renewable gas production per capita within the EU by 2030, with a potential of 13TWh/annum forecast.

Ireland has the highest potential within the EU for renewable gas production per capita by 2030. #Vision2050 #renewableenergy #CleanerEnergyFuture

Our vision to decarbonise agriculture

Gas Networks Ireland estimate that a network of 340 anaerobic digestion plants will be required in order to meet its target for 20% renewable gas on the network by 2030. Gas Networks Ireland's role will be as a facilitator of the roll out of renewable gas and we will put in place the network to transport renewable gas. The development of renewable gas production in Ireland will also require partnership between Government, investors, local producers and rural communities.

What we are doing

Gas Networks Ireland is working with Teagasc, researchers and other key stakeholders to develop plans for a renewable gas industry in partnership with farmers and rural communities.

What needs to happen

We need to develop policies and supports to progress our vision for the decarbonising of agriculture.

Industry standard for biofertiliser

Ireland must develop an industry standard for the use of bio-fertiliser in order to ensure its uptake of by farmers. Use of bio-fertiliser will further improve the emissions savings associated with renewable gas.

Policy roadmap for renewable gas

To successfully develop Ireland’s renewable gas industry a detailed policy roadmap will be required to set out the measures required from demand to supply side.

Seek whole system carbon accounting for Ireland

The emissions reductions which can be counted from renewable gas are limited by the EU. Further emissions reductions arising from better land use management and use of bio-fertiliser can be sought by EU member states. As Ireland’s renewable gas industry develops, these additional savings must be measured and demonstrated in order to obtain the full benefit of emissions savings associated with renewable gas.

Read the full Vision 2050 report

Ireland's gas network has the potential to make a significant contribution to reducing Ireland's emissions. Read our vision for a net zero carbon gas network.

Download the Vision 2050 report now