Irish government fails to apply for REPowerEU funding

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Ireland's Department of the Environment waited three weeks into a four-week submission period before consulting its own competent authority regarding a €35bn EU renewable energy fund which Ireland has failed to apply for, reported the Irish Examiner.
The REPowerEU funding initiative, organised by the European Commission (EC), was set up to attempt to ensure continuity of energy supply - including funding explorations of renewable energy sources - as the fallout from Russian's invasion of Ukraine continues. Ireland is one of just two EU member state nations that failed to apply.
On 8 March, Ireland's Department of the Environment (DECC)
received correspondence from the EC’s director general for energy requesting submissions above and beyond each country’s stated national energy targets regarding REPowerEU, with a deadline for response of 8 April.
Almost four weeks later, DECC requested submissions from Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) related to biomethane, a form of renewable gas. GNI was given until 5 April - two working days before the REPowerEU deadline - to reply to DECC.
A spokesperson for the department said that it is “considering potential proposals for funding under this mechanism with the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform”.
They added that “European legislation necessary to provide for funding” under REPowerEU will not come into force until next year.
However, gas industry experts told the Irish Examiner that no such legislation is required for either the biomethane or liquefied natural gas strands of REPowerEU.
Biomethane production facilities
Meanwhile, GNI confirmed that it had received a communication from DECC requesting information for the director general regarding the “deployment and connection” of biomethane production facilities on 1 April.
“Gas Networks Ireland provided a response to these queries on Tuesday, April 5
,” they said, adding that funding applications are a matter for DECC.
Commenting on the amount of time taken to consult GNI regarding REPowerEU last March, and the fact no application was made for the biomethane funding itself, energy consultant and former MEP Kieran Hartley said Ireland had “disadvantaged itself in terms of its own natural indigenous asset, which is grass growing”.
“Not applying reduces Ireland’s ability to cut carbon emissions and to achieve our net-zero 2030 climate targets,” he said, adding that the failure to apply for the funding is “an unforgivable let down to all of Ireland, especially its rural communities”.
REPowerEU is expected to inject funding into the clean energy transition of some €210bn by the year 2027.
The biomethane section of REPowerEU has a budget of €35bn. At present biomethane is being invested in heavily across the developed world, with France for example currently spending nearly €2m per day in rolling out the technology.

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