Ministers Charlie McConalogue and Eamon Ryan have been urged to ensure a level playing field for indigenous sectors, particularly the agri-food sector, which operates on relatively lower margins, when competing to secure biomethane on the open market.

This is according to chair of the Renewable Gas Forum Ireland (RGFI) JP Prendergast, who emphasised that biomethane should be directed to sectors with the most economic impact such as those with a high thermal energy use and are challenging to decarbonise like Ireland's food industry.

Demand from the industry for biomethane is at a pivotal point, with many large energy users now seeking biomethane as a means to decarbonise.

This call came as the RGFI met in Portlaoise this week to receive an update on the progress of the national biomethane strategy, set to be published in the coming weeks.

The strategy is set to lay out the roadmap for the development of the anaerobic digestion (AD) industry in Ireland.

The RGFI called on the movement to ensure that the strategy enables the level of scale required to meet the biomethane needs of the industry.

Pent-up demand

Ireland has lagged behind in adopting biomethane and RGFI members are eager to meet the pent-up demand from the industry.

Prendergast reiterated RGFI's call for a minimum of 50% capital funding toward the cost of AD plants, low-cost finance and a clear framework addressing regulation, planning and approvals.

There is currently significant demand from the industry for biomethane as a means of decarbonisation.

RGFI is advising its members, including industrial gas consumers, AD developers and operators, farmers, community organisations, public agencies, shippers and academics to be prepared to act swiftly once the strategy is published.