There could be a significant opportunity for the agricultural and energy sectors to join forces and create a thriving biomethane economy in Ireland by 2030, Gas Networks Ireland’s director of customer and business development David Kelly has said.
He told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture on Wednesday 3 May that with the right structures and policies in place, Ireland will achieve its biomethane targets in less than seven years.
The Irish Government's target is that biomethane renewable gas should provide 10% of the country's gas needs by 2030.
There is, Kelly argued, significant scope for biomethane production in Ireland and among Irish farmers.
"In less than seven years' time, with the right structures and policies put in place, Ireland can achieve the Government target of 5.7TWh as set out under the climate action plan - approximately 10% of the country’s current gas demand.
"I am confident that this is not only an achievable ambition, but potentially even a conservative one," he said.
Speaking about the benefits to the Irish economy, Kelly said that a biomethane industry could provide a new revenue stream for farmers, as waste can become a source of income.
"Replacing 10% of natural gas with biomethane would result in a carbon abatement of 1.1m tonnes of CO2.
"An important byproduct of biomethane production is digestate, which can replace imported fertiliser, protecting our water courses by reducing nitrates and reducing Ireland’s exposure to international fluctuations in price and supply," he added.