Bord na Móna is to source Irish biomethane, Dr John Reilly, head of renewable energy at the semi-State company, has said. It has approved €100m in funding to extend the national gas pipeline to its Edenderry power station to run new 120MW high-efficiency gas turbines on natural gas.

The company plans to switch to biomethane when its new 80,000t anaerobic digestion plant in Laois is operational. The AD plant was granted planning permission by Laois County Council but has since been referred to An Bord Pleanála. The company will also source biomethane from other producers for the turbines which currently run on distillate.

It is also set to increase its intake of biomass to one million tonnes at the Edenderry station. The station is set to fully phase out the use of peat in 2023 and will instead increase its use of forestry residues and sustainable biomass by 400,000t to produce electricity.

Meanwhile, speaking at the IrBEA national bioenergy conference this week, chair of the Climate Change Advisory Council Marie Donnelly said that bioenergy has moved into centre stage.“We are at the start of a very vibrant opportunity for anaerobic digestion in the country,” she said.