Our Vision 2050, launched in 2019, provides a strategy for the development of a carbon neutral gas network. It will deliver clean and flexible energy which will support emissions reductions across every sector of the Irish economy at the lowest cost possible. Renewable gas is a key pillar in our vision to fully decarbonise the gas network by 2050, along with hydrogen and carbon capture and storage. Substituting renewable gas for natural gas is seamless and it’s one of the ways we can reduce Ireland’s total CO2 emissions across key sectors including electricity, industry, heat and transport. In 2020 two publicly accessible, fast fill Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations were constructed at Clonshaugh in Dublin and Ballysimon Road in Limerick. The country’s second publicly accessible, fast-fill CNG station, opened at Circle K’s forecourt in Cashel as part of the developing national network aimed at providing clean fuel to the Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) sector. Strategically located at Junction 8 off the M8 (Dublin – Cork) motorway, the state-of-the-art station has the capacity to fill 50 HGVs a day, with each fill taking no more than five minutes. This new station allows hauliers and fleet operators in the region to begin the journey to carbon neutral transport by switching their fuel from diesel to CNG today and ultimately transitioning to networked renewable gas in the future.
In May 2020, Ireland’s only purpose-built injection facility in Cush, Co. Kildare was declared an entry point and joined Corrib as one of the two indigenous gas sources on Ireland’s gas network (following the closure of the Kinsale gas field in July 2020). Locally produced renewable gas entered the gas network with Tesco and Diageo purchasing renewable gas made from their own food and drink waste to power their operations. Cush alone has the capacity to supply renewable gas to 11,000 homes.
We have been granted permission by An Bord Pleanála for the proposed development of a renewable gas injection facility near Mitchelstown in Co. Cork. The Mitchelstown facility is part of the GRAZE Gas project, short-listed for funding by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications under the Climate Action Fund. We have established a scheme for the issuance of electronic certificates to track Renewable Gas delivered to the Irish gas system. A draft Statuary Instrument was submitted to the Department of Climate Communications and Environment in early May. If implemented it would appoint Gas Networks Ireland as the Issuing Body for Guarantees of Origin for renewable gas in Ireland in accordance with Article 19 of the Renewable Energy Directive II.
We continue to participate in several Irish and European gas research initiatives, which are assessing how hydrogen could be transported using existing gas networks. In 2020 we built an independent distribution network in our facility in Brownsbarn to allow us to test how blends of natural gas and hydrogen perform in the network and with downstream appliances.
Environmental Management Systems
We recognise that our activities have the potential to cause environmental impacts and that it is our responsibility to manage our activities in a manner that provides a high level of protection for our natural environment and contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, while supporting sustainable economic development. Due to the nature of our activities we are subject to rigorous standards of environmental legislation and regulation through environmental licences and permits issued by relevant regulatory authorities.
For example, our compressor stations in Scotland are licenced by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and we comply with all aspects of our licences. Non licenced activities are subject to assessment during planning processes and we have developed tools to help our designers and planners carry out such assessments. Our bespoke Envirokit and EnviroPlan environmental planning and design toolkits assist our designers and planners in applying a standardised approach to Environmental Management. EnviroOps, our in-house environmental guidance document was developed to assist our operations personnel in applying best practice while working for the organisation.
To reduce our impact on the environment we have developed objectives in several areas including air/carbon emissions, biodiversity, energy use, waste generation and efficient use of resources all of which are verifiable within our certified Environmental Management System ISO14001 and Energy Management System ISO50001. Our Green House Gas inventory was independently verified according to ISO14064-3:2019 specifications with guidance for the Validation and Verification of Greenhouse Gas Statements.
Our environmental energy working group promotes an integrated and strategic approach to environmental and energy management across the business and our asset base. Our bespoke in-house design toolkits and environmental guidance assist our designers, planners and operations personnel to apply a standardised approach to environmental management.
We also have a dedicated Environmental Team who sit within the Sustainability Team and are responsible for driving environmental performance across the business.
Significant fines and non-monetary sanctions for non-compliance with environmental laws and/or regulations in terms of;
(i) Total monetary value of significant fines
(ii) Total number of non-monetary sanctions
(iii) Cases brought through dispute resolution mechanisms
Gas Networks Ireland were named on the EPA’s list of National Priority Sites for Enforcement on 16 July 2020 due to odour and fugitive emissions from the Limerick Remediation Project Site.
Access to Information on the Environment
The Access to Information on the Environment (AIE) Directive was transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007 to 2014 (the “AIE Regulations”). Under the AIE Regulations, members of the public can request access to environmental information from public authorities.
How to request environmental information
Requests for environmental information should be made through the Freedom of Information Unit by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via post at: Colvill House, 24-26 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. You do not need to specify the reason for your request, but all requests should:
- Be made in writing or electronic form
- State that the request is made under the AIE Regulations
- State your name, address and any other relevant contact details
- State, in terms that are as specific as possible, the environmental information that you require
- If you require access to the environmental information in a particular form or manner, specify the form or manner of access desired.
- If possible include a contact telephone number (to allow us to contact you to clarify your request, if necessary).
Access to Information on the environment requests made to Gas Networks Ireland