The National Biomethane Strategy launched last week sets out a roadmap on how the Government plans to achieve its target of replacing 10% of Ireland’s natural gas with biomethane. The strategy will be backed by a new €40m grant scheme.

In general, industry was pleased that the flagship strategy was finally launched, but all agreed that it still has many shortcomings.

IFA president Francie Gorman said that the strategy will not be enough to develop a sector at the scale required to meet the 2030 target. “If the Government is serious about this, it will require a lot more funding than €40m. Countries such as Denmark have successfully developed a biomethane sector, but they committed multiples of this figure in funding.

“Overall, there is certainly potential to develop an indigenous AD industry in Ireland, but the discussion needs to be much more inclusive of farmers or there is a real danger that AD will become the preserve of big business,” he said.


Seán Finan, CEO of the Irish Bioenergy Association, said that the group’s members are concerned that a capital grant could drive up development costs, having the opposite effect. He also said the strategy does not identify the strategic risks associated with imported fuels including biomethane (fuel or certificates) or hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) and its traceability, as a cheaper drop-in fuel, on the development of the Irish biomethane industry.

Renewable Gas Forum of Ireland CEO PJ McCarthy said that the strategy does not provide a standardised approach to planning and licensing, which is disappointing.

“Also, while the end use of biomethane will be determined by the market, the Government has an opportunity in the next round of funding to ensure that difficult-to-decarbonise sectors, such as the indigenous food processors and farmer owned co-operatives, can compete effectively for biomethane” he said.