Farming has ‘huge potential’ to produce renewable gas
Ireland has the potential to deliver 20pc of renewable gas into the national grid by 2030, and to increase that share to over 50pc by 2050.
European studies have shown that Ireland has huge potential to produce bio-methane from agri-based resources, said PJ McCarthy, chair of Renewable Gas Forum Ireland (RGFI).
Mr McCarthy said there was real potential for increased use of anaerobic digestion (AD) in the wider farm and food processing sector but he cautioned that the Government needed to provide certainty for potential investors by announcing feed-in tariffs (REFIT) for bio-methane.
The energy sector was losing investors because of the continued delay in the announcement of a definitive REFIT regime, Mr McCarthy warned.
RGFI is currently working to put in place a dedicated fund to finance on-farm AD projects, Mr McCarthy said.
He pointed out that AD had had the potential to help decarbonise Irish farming and food production, and assist in the expansion of the circular bio-economy.
“This is a win-win for farming, food processing and the environment,” Mr McCarthy said.
Meanwhile, the IFA has criticised the Government’s “piecemeal approach” to farm-based renewable energy projects.
“The allocation of €10m for renewable energy projects under TAMS while welcome was a token amount in the context of what is needed to drive on the rapid expansion of Ireland’s circular bio-economy which encompasses renewable energy,” said Tom Short, IFA renewable chairman.
He warned that the Government’s current policies would not deliver on Ireland’s renewable energy targets.