'Green' gas plan will pay farmers to offload waste
Farmers could be paid to dispose of agricultural slurry and organic waste under plans to ramp up production of renewable gas.
Gas Networks Ireland (GNI) says as much as 10,000 GWh of gas - around 20pc of annual demand - could be produced from agricultural waste and grass which would help Ireland meet ambitious renewables targets.
Large industrial energy users are increasingly demanding 'green' gas to power their facilities, Ian Kilgallon from GNI said. He added there was an abundant source of raw feedstock available, and ramping up production would not require major investment in new infrastructure.
Around 50 locations across the network had been identified as suitable 'injection' sites, of which around 12 would be required and cost between €1.5m to €3m each to develop.
He also said a network of between 100 and 200 smaller co-operative facilities would be needed, where gas was produced before being compressed and transported by road to an injection point.
"The industry is demanding green", Mr Kilgallon said.
"Ireland has abundant sustainable sources of renewable gas to meet the demands of industry. The existing natural gas network can facilitate the supply of renewable gas to industry and provide energy security through access to a European-wide green gas market."
However, Barry Caslin, bioenergy specialist with Teagasc , said while green gas was a viable option, the feed-in tariff would have to be increased.