Press Release: IrBEA welcomes the biomethane strategy publication but further market certainty is required to attract investment

Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) Press Release
For Immediate Release
29th May 2024
IrBEA welcomes the biomethane strategy publication but further market certainty is required to attract investment.
The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) as the representative voice of the Irish bioenergy industry and biogas/biomethane sectors welcomes the publication of the biomethane strategy but strongly highlights that further market certainty is required from the Government to provide the necessary conditions to attract investment and ensure the long-term viability and financial sustainability of the biomethane sector.  
Seán Finan, IrBEA CEO said “The publication of the biomethane strategy is another step forward in the development of the industry in Ireland. The initial feedback from members on the strategy is that further market certainty will be required to attract investment and to make projects fundable and viable. While capital grants and the renewable heat obligation (RHO) are outlined as mechanisms to stimulate a market for biomethane, further details and long-term certainty will be required on these measures to encourage investment.”
Finan continued “IrBEA members in their response to the initial consultation on the draft strategy indicated their concerns regarding capital grants driving up development costs and favoured an ongoing operational support mechanism.  It’s disappointing this has not been considered, explored or referenced in the strategy. Ongoing operational support has been the funding mechanism of choice used in many developing and established European biomethane markets including Denmark which is broadly lauded as a best practice example. Given the cost of feedstock and ongoing feeding requirements of a biomethane system, the fundamental question of AD plant economic viability exists. A capital grant alone or with an obligation will not eliminate this viability challenge.”
The strategy commits to the introduction of a renewable heat obligation (RHO) in the heat sector in 2024 which will incentivise suppliers of fossil fuels used for heat, to ensure a proportion of the energy they supply is renewable. Until the details of this obligation are finalised it is not possible to determine if it will constitute an adequate market stimulant.
Finan commented “We welcome the commitment to introduce the RHO. The RHO introduction has been talked about for years. Why the delay? Why are the main design components not included in the biomethane strategy to give the market confidence that it can deliver. The obligation threshold level, the percentage obligation by 2030, the types of renewable fuels allowed to fulfil the obligation and the buyout rate are all critical components which require particular attention in the design for a successful obligation scheme to deliver. The industry awaits these details to give the certainty that it will deliver as envisaged”.
The biomethane strategy correctly identifies that one of the by-products of anaerobic digestion is digestate, which can serve as an alternative to chemical fertilisers, thus reducing the need for synthetic fertilisers in agriculture.
Finan commented “Digestate presents a considerable opportunity for Ireland. However, the strategy fails to acknowledge in either the text or actions to deliver, the regulatory challenge posed by the Nitrates Directive and the 170kg/N/Hectare limit in replacing inorganic chemical fertiliser with organic digestate despite this issue being flagged in our consultation response on behalf of members.”
Other IrBEA feedback on the biomethane strategy includes:

  • 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.
  • Minister Ryan’s statement in his foreword suggests a considerable reduction in gas usage by the mid-2030s, “as we shift our economy away from gas in favour of electrification”. The substantial reduction in dependence is unrealistic given the dependence of the energy system on gas and the need to balance growing intermittent electricity generation by wind and solar with dispatchable generation. Domestic and industrial heating will, through inertia, not deliver the considerable gas dependence reduction suggested with current policy.
  • IrBEA welcomes the strategies recognition that different sizes and scales of AD plant will be required in Ireland to deliver the target including a mix of Scenario 1 ‘Widespread Deployment’ (farm scale) and Scenario 3 ‘Economic Deployment’ (large scale).
  • IrBEA welcomes the recognition of existing Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants currently operating to produce biogas and that they will be eligible for capital support to upgrade their facilities to produce biomethane and other biobased products, along with new AD plants.
  • IrBEA welcomes the opportunity and potential for biogas transported directly to users and that the Biomethane Implementation Group, GNI and SEAI will determine the best method for certifying this biomethane that is directly transported to end users from biomethane developments.
  • IrBEA states that the Biomethane Sustainability Charter must be developed by active and meaningful engagement through meetings and structured dialogue with the industry and not just an online consultation without engagement.
  • IrBEA is concerned that the industry or their representatives are not recognised as a stakeholder in any of the measures for delivering the National Biomethane Strategy. How will industry feed into the implementation group, the biomethane charter or any of the other actions? How will the Biomethane Implementation Group interact with industry (plant operators and developers) and IrBEA as their representative body?

Finan concluded “The strategy is another step toward the mobilisation of the biomethane industry. We must move quickly towards implementation to deliver on the ambition and targets set out by the Government.”

For further information contact Seán Finan  at or 0874146480

Notes to editors
IrBEA Webinar No 45 on the biomethane strategy
The Irish Bioenergy Association will hold webinar No 45 as part of the bioenergy webinar series on Wednesday the 5th of June 2024 at 9:30am. The title of this webinar will be “The Biomethane Strategy – Industry insights, feedback and analysis”
At this webinar, the main elements within the strategy will be outlined and an expert panel will share their industry insights, feedback and analysis on the strategy. The webinar will be hosted by Seán Finan IrBEA CEO who will be joined by a panel of industry experts. Speakers details will be confirmed in the coming days. 
Register for the webinar:

Webinar 45: The Biomethane Strategy – Industry Insights, feedback and analysis

Dear IrBEA members and colleagues,The Government have published the biomethane strategy and their plans to mobile the Irish biomethane sector and achieve a 5.7TWh target by 2030. At this webinar, we will outline the main elements within the strategy and an expert panel will share their industry insights, feedback and analysis. The webinar will be hosted by Seán Finan, IrBEA CEO.
He will be joined by a panel of industry experts and stakeholders. Speakers will be confirmed in the coming days.

Register in advance for this free webinar:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Exploring wood fuel drying techniques: Workshops and site visits organized by WFQA and IrBEA

The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) and the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance (WFQA) Scheme, is organising a series of wood fuel drying demonstrations and workshops. These free events are open to IrBEA & WFQA members, potential new members and interested stakeholders. The aim is to enhance the understanding of wood fuel drying techniques and processes. These events are scheduled to take place in May and June of 2024. Through these workshops and site visits, participants will gain practical insights, interact with industry experts, and exchange knowledge. These workshops are designed to assist woodfuel suppliers to meet their moisture content requirements as specified under the Solid Fuel Regulations. These workshops are open to all fuel suppliers and all members. Each event will showcase unique learning aspects of wood fuel production and we encourage participants to attend as many of these events as possible. Wood fuel drying is a pivotal stage in the production of quality wood fuels. Various drying methods are employed, contingent upon factors such as wood type, desired moisture content, production scale, and resource availability. During these site visits, attendees will have the opportunity to explore different drying methods, including:

Workshop 1: Polytunnel drying, Thursday 16th May 2024 – 10:30 to 13:30, Sherlogs, Gainstown, Navan, Co. Meath.
Industrial scale polytunnels are an excellent tool to accelerate air drying while also providing fuel storage. Properly designed tunnels offer a controlled environment with elevated temperatures conducive to fast wood drying. Particularly advantageous for smaller-scale operations or regions with unpredictable or adverse weather conditions, polytunnel drying provides an effective alternative to traditional outdoor drying methods.

Workshop 2: Kiln drying, Thursday 30th May 2024 – 10:30 to 15:30, Keadeen Hotel, Newbridge, followed by a site visit to D.Brennan and Sons, Kilcullen, Co. Kildare.
Kilns are used to rapidly dry wood fuels with artificial heat and airflow. While kilns do have an associated capital and operational cost, they can effectively reduce the drying time from several months to a few days. Fuel drying can be relatively low tech. At this workshop, we will be hosting a kiln expert who will explain the fundamentals of proper kiln drying. Kiln drying offers faster and more uniform drying compared to air drying, making it a valuable tool for large and small-scale wood fuel production facilities seeking to have more control over fuel production.

Workshop 3: Air drying, Saturday 15th June 2024 – 10:30 to 13:30, Cotter Bros Firewood, Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick.
This approach involves the correct stacking of wood in open-air environments with ample airflow and sunlight exposure. Air drying, when done correctly is an effective low cost method of producing wood fuels. However, it does require care, time, attention and space. Air drying is often a precursor to further drying processes such as kilns and polytunnels, particularly suited for smaller-scale operations. This site operator has perfected various air drying techniques which allow them to consistently produce firewood at under 20% moisture content.

UK Tour 4: UK kiln drying site visits, first week of June 2024
We will be hosting a 2-day study tour to the UK to meet with firewood producers utilising various kiln designs to produce firewood to 20% moisture content. This excursion will afford participants invaluable insights into kiln operations, further details will be provided shortly. The trip will be held in the first week of June with dates and full details to be confirmed.

These events are free. Seperate registration for each event in advance is mandatory. See links below.
For further information on these events please contact Noel Gavigan at or Teresa O’Brien at
Register links below
The Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme (WFQA) is managed and administered by Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) and the promotion of the scheme is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.