The Renewable Gas Forum Ireland (RGFI) and the Project Clover collaboration of leading Irish agri-food industry companies, have continued interactions across government and with farming representatives, to highlight the potential for renewable gas to help meet decarbonisation targets. Their request for Government action in terms of policy support and access to capital grants, has been strengthened by two further consultants’ reports on the business case, commercial viability and sustainability of agri-based biomethane and biofertiliser production.
The KPMG Project Clover Feasibility report outlines the industry proposition to displace over 680kt CO2 per annum by 2030, as a conservative estimate. The findings of Project Clover have fed into a further KPMG / Devenish report, commissioned by Gas Networks Ireland, which states that the full potential of sustainably produced biomethane to reduce CO2 emissions is over 1.9 million tonnes per annum, at maximum potential production of 9.5TWh, based on improved efficiency across land currently underutilised in agricultural production, using mixed species swards, grass and animal slurry, and the application of digestate.
A big step forward, in terms of recognition, has been provision for biomethane production in the National Development Plan.
Another important development, has been the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications’ recent consultation on a proposed Renewable Heat Obligation (RHO) policy. One of the key asks of Government has been the introduction of an RHO, Article 23 REDII, as a secure means of socialising the funding gap between biomethane and natural gas. The consultation submission deadline was 29th October 2021, and it is anticipated that Government will make an announcement to the market by the end of December ‘21.
In addition, Ireland’s Climate Action Plan is due to be released in early November ’21, and that will in turn inform individual plans across sectors. The Climate Action Bill stipulates a 51% reduction in Ireland’s carbon footprint by the end of the decade and a programme for Government to reduce its emissions (carbon footprint) by 7 % per year to hit its new 2030 target. Ireland’s carbon budget has been agreed by Government and each sector will have targets to reach. The Climate Change Advisory Council has been central to this work and RGFI have liaised with them on the potential role of agri-based biomethane and organic fertiliser production, especially in decarbonising difficult to decarbonise sectors, in particular, food production.
This role is central to the shared “Vision for Biomethane in Ireland” that has been developed in conjunction with Regatrace, REI 40by30, and consumer led collaborations with RGFI as lead coordinator, culminating in the 2nd Regatrace Workshop held on 21 July 2021 and hosted by RGFI.
The vision is for:
“A consumer led, at scale, renewable gas industry
- decarbonising difficult to decarbonise sectors ie the thermal demands of industry, transport and agriculture
- supporting sustainable, profitable agriculture and the circular rural economy
- supporting sustainable transport
- aligned with EU and national sustainability and climate action policies
- underwritten by charter to ensure no unintended consequences.
- a just transition to achieving targets in emissions reduction by 2030 and carbon zero by 2050.”
Project Clover Feasibility Report, KPMG, Oct 2021 summary
Sustainability of Biomethane Production in Ireland – KPMG / Devenish Oct 2021
Authenticity on behalf of Renewable Gas Forum Ireland, www.renewablegasforum.com