For immediate release
9 May 2023
The Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) highlights that it is essential that there be meaningful engagement with key stakeholders and anaerobic digestion (AD) facility operators in the development of the Government’s promised biomethane strategy.
CEO of IrBEA, Mr Seán Finan, on behalf of its members is also emphasising that:
“The promised biomethane strategy must include medium- to long-term market supports, similar to what has been demonstrated to work in other renewable energy sectors in Ireland and across Europe.”
Last week, IrBEA highlighted to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Oireachtas Agriculture Committee) that the promised biomethane strategy needs to:
- “be developed in association with key stakeholders and AD facility operators who understand the cost of production and economic models to develop these facilities.
- contain details of what medium- to long-term supports, incentives and measures are going to mobilise the Government target by 2030. The gap between cost of production and the market return has closed in recent times with the increased fossil energy prices, but still exists. This cost-gap must be bridged through long-term policy, support, incentives, and measures.
- the support introduced needs to be adequate to give market certainty and ensure that it is enough to be able to develop, operate and maintain facilities and pay for feedstocks over the long-term.
- recognise that a fair return is required along the supply chain for all stakeholders, from the farmer growing grass silage as a feedstock to the operator who is running the plant and all those involved in between.
- deliver the Government target on a phased basis where lessons can be learned with all phases and amendments made as required; and
- ensure that the biomethane sector is complementary to our agricultural and farming systems rather than compete with them.”
A range of invited speakers at the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee, including from IrBEA, and its members Biocore Environmental and Gas Networks Ireland, pointed out that there is both an energy opportunity and a nutrient recovery or transition opportunity, diversifying from imported chemical farm fertiliser produced from fossil gas, for Ireland in developing a biogas/biomethane sector.
In reflecting on the Oireachtas Committee meeting and looking ahead to IrBEA’s biogas/biomethane webinar this week, Pádraic Ó hUiginn, Project Executive at IrBEA said:
“Digestate from a biogas/biomethane industry is a circular economy, bioeconomy, and environmental opportunity, in terms of potentially enabling a transition from imported chemical fertilisers, and land-spreading of slurry, to this locally-recovered and more nutrient-available fertiliser. It offers a better pathway for fertilising farm-land, reducing the potential impact of run-off, as well as the broader energy and environmental benefits. AD offers more than just sustainable and renewable energy. However, it will require policy and regulatory understanding and support to enable it to happen.”
This week, IrBEA maintains a spotlight on the biogas/biomethane sector, with one of its Wednesday webinars, on a new report produced by bioeconomy consultants NNFCC on current deployment of AD in Ireland.
“We look forward to tomorrow’s webinar: ‘NNFCC’s 2023 Irish anaerobic digestion report explores current deployment ahead of expected biogas and biomethane market growth’, with guest presenter Andrea Muñoz García. NNFCC has worked with Irish project partners for over a decade, particularly in supporting innovation and business development for anaerobic digestion technologies for biogas, biomethane and digestate, through EU-funded projects like Bio Base NWE and BioBase4SME. I have been fortunate to have been part of international teams with NNFCC on those projects. It’s important in a post-Brexit environment that the biogas/biomethane sector can continue to find ways to work alongside UK-based organisations such as NNFCC, including in an island of Ireland context,” commented Mr Pádraic Ó hUiginn, Project Executive at IrBEA.
To register for tomorrow’s IrBEA webinar (Wednesday, 10th of May, at 09.30am), please access this link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_lXXtREopQzSaTBmjTPgvjQ#/registration
A recording of the webinar will be available on the IrBEA website www.irbea.org subsequently.
For further information contact: Seán Finan IrBEA CEO on 087 4146480
Access the recording of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine here: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/committees/33/agriculture-food-and-the-marine/videos/