The Government has launched its flagship National Biomethane Strategy, which outlines its vision on how Ireland will build a network of 140-200 anaerobic digestion (AD) plants by 2030 to produce of 5.7 terrawatt hours (tWh) of biomethane gas.

The document contains 25 actions to be delivered in the coming years to enable the development of the sector.

This includes the launch of a new competitive €40m capital grant scheme for developers. The capital grants will help reduce the 'green premium' required to produce biomethane, the strategy outlines.

The Government will also introduce a new renewable heat obligation in the heat sector later this year to incentivise the use of biomethane in the heat sector, creating demand for the gas.

Plant size

The strategy outlines how a mix of plant sizes will need to be developed. Depending on its scale, each plant will need between 25,000-60,000 tonnes of feedstock per year, most of which will be supplied by farmers.

While it outlines that the optimal plant size in Ireland will produce 40GWh of biomethane and require around 2,000ac of silage each, it also outlines the need for small 10GWh plants, requiring around 500ac.

In total, by 2030, close to 300,000 acres of silage and slurry from 1.3m cattle will be required as feedstock to supply the industry.

It is envisaged that AD plants currently producing biogas will be eligible for capital support to upgrade their facilities to produce biomethane and other biobased products, along with new AD plants.

The European Funds will be drawn down by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and will be administered by the SEAI.

Further details on the requirements will be set out when the competitive call for funding is announced in the coming weeks. While all sustainable feedstocks will be eligible to apply for this initial capital funding, a key aim of the initial grant support will be to develop an agri-led AD plant.

As energy policy lead, the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications will take responsibility for this second round of capital funding from 2026 which will support up to an additional 1.5 TWh by 2030.

As with the initial support programme, it is envisaged that existing AD plants aiming to switch to biomethane production and new projects with full planning permission and licences would be eligible for capital support.


Commenting on the report, Minister of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue said, “This strategy is first and foremost an agri-centric strategy, with the objective of enabling farmers to contribute to the decarbonisation of Ireland’s energy system.”

“Without farmers, the industry will not develop at the required scale,” he said.

Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan commented on the need to develop the sector sustainably, saying that “we must learn from the mistakes in other markets, where sustainability was not put at the core of biomethane production and ensure that the industry contributes to nature and water quality recovery”.