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Ireland’s government publishes National Biomethane Stategy

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Ireland's government has released its National Biomethane Strategy.
The National Biomethane Strategy sets out the necessary policy and regulatory measures, and provides a roadmap, to developing a biomethane industry of scale in Ireland, according to the Irish government.
Renewable Gas Forum Ireland (RGFI) has welcomed the move as an important first step towards meeting Ireland’s biomethane target of 5.7 TWh by 2030.
RGFI CEO, PJ McCarthy, said the announcement of an initial €40m in capital funding to 2025 and a commitment to introduce a policy enabler placing an obligation on energy providers to buy the renewable gas, will provide much needed certainty for RGFI members.
In addition, McCarthy welcomed the inclusion of other non-financial supports, as proposed by RGFI, such as non-contestable gas grid connections, the AD Charter to guide sustainability, as well as the establishment of a communications strategy and hub to socialise the socioeconomic benefits of biomethane and biorefinery potential.
RGFI has been advocating for matching capital funding, a Renewable Heat Obligation scheme and clear guidelines on the development of an agri-feedstock-based AD biomethane industry since 2014.
It commissioned the first economic assessment of biomethane in Ireland, (RGFI/KPMG) in 2019, which was acknowledged in the government's strategy.
“The initial €40m being provided in capital grants will kick start the development of circa 10 x 40 GWh AD plants within the next 18 months. While a modest beginning, this is a crucial first step. We look forward to working through the detail with government on behalf of our members who range from farmers to large scale energy users," said McCarthy.
The organisation added that it welcomes the government's commitment to operating the Renewable Heat Obligation scheme from 2024, and to provide further captial funding in the 2025 Budget. This must be adequate support the construction of up to 130 more median-sized biomethane production units, it said.
RGFI also welcomed the provision for a Charter to underpin the sustainability of all projects – a key factor in the RGFI submission.
“This is a phased approach to the creation of a biomethane industry in Ireland. The benefits, as acknowledged in the Strategy go beyond energy and decarbonisation. The demand for agri-based feedstocks will generate additional income streams for farmers, as well as providing on-farm sustainability and water quality benefits, and ultimately carbon farming and a bio-economy."
However, the scheme was not without criticism.
"What is disappointing in the Strategy is that it does not provide a standardised approach to planning and licensing. Also, while the end use of biomethane will be determined by the market, the government has an opportunity in the next round of funding to ensure that difficult-to-decarbonise sectors, such as the indigenous food processors and farmer owned co-operatives, with high thermal needs, can compete effectively for biomethane,” concluded McCarthy.






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