Imports of biomethane into Ireland could increase due to a new obligation scheme set to kick in this autumn.

The Renewable Heat Obligation (RHO) scheme will require suppliers of natural gas to blend biomethane into gas supplied to the heat sector, initially starting at 2% and rising to 10% by 2030.

A similar biofuel obligation has been in place since 2010 for petrol and diesel. Speaking at the Ireland Biomethane Conference last week, Minister Eamon Ryan said the RHO will be the main revenue mechanism for anaerobic digestion (AD) plants here.

However, the risk of companies importing biomethane from the EU and UK to meet this obligation, instead of using indigenous biomethane, was highlighted as a significant risk for Irish AD developers at the conference.


Biomethane is currently being imported in small quantities into Ireland from Europe, with some international developers actively targeting multinational companies in Ireland.

The EU is currently implementing changes to make it easier for all member states to trade biomethane, potentially making it much easier to import cheaper biomethane into Ireland to meet the obligation.

When asked if Irish biomethane will be prioritised, Minister Ryan said the RHO will “not be designed so we are opening up AD plants in Holland or in Essex”. However, as a member of the EU, preventing international imports could be difficult.