Network Development Plan 2020 - - Commission for Regulation ...

Network Development Plan 2020 - - Commission for Regulation ...

Plan 2020
Network Development Plan 2020 - - Commission for Regulation ...
Table of contents

1.     Foreword                                    02   6.5.2. Industrial and commercial sector              42

2.     Executive summary                           06   6.5.3. Residential sector                            43

3.     Introduction                                12   6.5.4. Transport sector                              43

3.1.   Licence/regulatory obligations              13   6.6.    The demand outlook                           45

3.2.   Environmental and planning considerations   13   6.6.1. Power generation sector gas demand            45

3.3.   Overview of the Gas Networks Ireland system 14   6.6.2. Industrial and commercial sector gas demand 46

4.     The future of the gas network               16   6.6.3. Residential sector gas demand                 46

4.1.   Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)                20   6.6.4. Transport sector gas demand                   46

4.2.   Renewable gas                               20   6.6.5. Total annual gas demand                       49

4.3    Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)            21   6.6.6. Peak day gas demand                           49

4.4    Hydrogen                                    22   6.6.7. Role of gas in power generation               50

4.5    Climate Action Plan and the NECP            25   7.      Gas supply                                   54

4.6    The energy policy landscape                 27   7.1.    Moffat Entry Point                           56

5.     Historic demand & supply                    28   7.2.    Corrib gas                                   56

5.1.   COVID-19 demand impact                      29   7.3.    Kinsale gas                                  57

5.2.   ROI annual primary energy requirement       29   7.4.    Renewable gas                                57

5.3.   Historic annual gas demand                  30   7.5.    Other supply developments                    59

5.4.   Historic peak day gas demand                32   8.      Gas growth                                   60

5.5.   Ireland’s weather                           32   8.1.    Residential new connections growth           61

5.6.   Wind powered generation                     32   8.2.    Industrial & commercial sector development   63

5.7.   Electricity interconnectors                 32   8.2.1   Data centres                                 63

5.8.   Historic gas supply                         33   8.2.2   Combined Heat & Power (CHP)                  64

6.     Gas demand forecasts                        34   8.2.3   Other developments                           64

6.1.   Gas demands                                 35   8.3.    New towns and suburbs policy                 65

6.2.   Gas demand forecasting                      35   8.4.    Transport                                    66

6.3.   Gas demand scenarios                        36   8.5.    Renewable gas                                68

6.4.	Alignment of NDP scenarios with ENTSOG ten        9.      Commercial market arrangements               70
      year Network Development Plan              37
                                                        9.1.    Republic of Ireland gas market               71
6.5.   Demand forecast assumptions                 38
                                                        9.2.    European developments                        71
6.5.1. Power generation sector                     38
Network Development Plan 2020 - - Commission for Regulation ...
Gas Networks Ireland                    Table of contents                                                    01

9.2.1   Capacity allocation mechanism                       71   Data freeze and rounding
                                                                 In order to complete the detailed analysis and
9.2.2   Balancing                                           72   modelling required to produce this document,
                                                                 the demand and supply scenarios were
                                                                 defined in July 2020, based on the most up to
9.2.3   Tariffs                                             72   date information at the time. In presenting the
                                                                 data obtained for publication in the Network
9.2.4   Transparency                                        72   Development Plan, energy values have been
                                                                 rounded to one decimal place, and aggregated
9.2.5   European Green Deal                                 72   growth/contraction rates are expressed as
                                                                 whole numbers to aid clarity. In certain cases,
10.     Gas network capacity                                74   rounding may lead to slight variance in sum
10.1    Capital investment                                  75
                                                                 Gas Networks Ireland has followed accepted
10.1.1 Investment planning                                  75
                                                                 industry practice in the collection and analysis
                                                                 of data available. However, prior to taking
10.1.2 Regulatory capital allowance                         75   business decisions, interested parties are
                                                                 advised to seek separate and independent
10.1.3 Unregulated projects                                 76   opinion in relation to the matters covered
                                                                 by the present Network Development Plan
10.1.4 Completed capital programmes                         77   and should not rely solely upon data and
                                                                 information contained therein. Information
10.1.5 Future system capacity                               77   in this document does not purport to contain
                                                                 all the information that a prospective investor
11.     CRU commentary                                      80   or participant in the Republic of Ireland’s gas
                                                                 market may need.

                                                                 Copyright notice
                                                                 All rights reserved. This entire publication
Appendix 1: Historic demand                                 83   is subject to the laws of copyright. This
                                                                 publication may not be reproduced or
Appendix 2: Demand forecasts                                87   transmitted in any form or by any means,
                                                                 electronic or manual, including photocopying
Appendix 3: Energy efficiency assumptions                   91   without the prior written permission of Gas
                                                                 Networks Ireland.
Appendix 4: Transmission network modelling                  92

Glossary                                                    93
Network Development Plan 2020 - - Commission for Regulation ...
02         Gas Networks Ireland      Network Development Plan 2020



           Welcome to the 2020 ten-year Network
           Development Plan (NDP) published
           by Gas Networks Ireland.
           This document provides a view of how the gas
           network may develop over a ten-year period.
           It is based on current supply and demand for
           gas, as well as projections for gas consumption
           and development of infrastructure. The
           document follows a process of engagement and
           consultation, both internally and through informal
           consultation with key industry stakeholders.
Network Development Plan 2020 - - Commission for Regulation ...
Gas Networks Ireland                            Foreword                                                                          03

As noted in Section 3, the primary              in line with pre-COVID-19 levels on
purpose of the NDP is to assess the gas         aggregate. The impact of current
network’s capacity based on existing            ongoing COVID-19 related economic
and forecast supply and demand in               restrictions are incorporated in our gas
order to guarantee the adequacy of              demand projections. However, given
the gas transportation system and               the ongoing and dynamic nature of the
security of supply. As such, the supply         pandemic and associated restrictions,
and demand assumptions which define             certain modelling assumptions may
the scenarios presented in this NDP             evolve and become replaced relatively
are based on a prudent assessment               quickly – in this event, assumptions
of current energy policy in Ireland.            will be further calibrated in next year’s
The Best Estimate scenario aligns to            NDP as necessary. Throughout 2020,
existing policy measures in place per           gas supplies have been available
Ireland’s National Energy and Climate           to customers 24/7/365, which is
Plan (NECP) for 2021 – 2030. Gas                testament to the underlying resilience
Networks Ireland continue to monitor            of the gas network and the long-            latter half of the forecast horizon. While
ongoing energy policy development               term investment strategies delivered        the capacity on the interconnector
and will incorporate additional policy          and underpinned by the Network              pipelines is more than adequate to
measures into the NDP Best Estimate             Development Plan process.                   meet all gas demand projections over
scenario as they are developed.                                                             the 10 year horizon, the potential
                                                Over the 10 year forecast horizon           constraint arises at the associated
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,               considered in this document, gas            compressor station installations.
Gas Networks Ireland have                       demand in Ireland is anticipated            Gas Networks Ireland will keep this
implemented the recommendations                 to increase, with strong growth of          potential constraint under review in
and guidelines from the HSE and Irish           23% projected in the Best Estimate          subsequent Network Development
Government to minimise the spread               scenario. The main drivers for growth       Plans. Measures are being explored to
of the COVID-19 virus, and frequently           are within the Power Generation             relieve this constraint in the medium
update relevant Government                      sector, and include a significant           and long term.
Departments on our activities.                  projected growth in electricity demand,
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a                 the need for additional gas-fired power     Natural gas remains the fuel most
notable impact on gas demand in the             generation to meet this demand, and         required to assist Ireland’s transition
Industrial and Commercial sector, but           the anticipated closure of certain non-     to a low carbon economy, as it is the
gas demand in the Power Generation              gas fired thermal generation plant.         optimal complementary energy source
and Residential sectors have not been           The ambitious targets assumed for           to intermittent renewable energy such
materially impacted and overall gas             integration of renewable electricity        as wind and solar, given its flexibility.
usage on the network is generally               sources result in the displacement of a     Natural gas continues its key role in
                                                certain amount of gas demand in this        Ireland’s energy system providing
                                                sector, thus off-setting the portion of     approximately 30% of the country’s
                                                growth that might otherwise occur.          primary energy needs. Approximately
“Gas Networks Ireland                           Industrial and Commercial sector gas        700,000 households and businesses in
continue to monitor                             demand is also projected to grow, as is     Ireland rely on natural gas for a secure
ongoing energy policy                           Transport. The Residential sector is the    and competitive source of heating. In
                                                only sector showing negative growth         2019, 52% of Ireland’s electricity was
development and will                            over the 10 years, this trend reflects      powered by natural gas1.
incorporate additional                          the current policy positions that are
policy measures into the                        built into the modelling assumptions.       Gas Networks Ireland welcomes
                                                                                            the submission by the Department
NDP Best Estimate scenario                      Given the scope for growth, the current     of the Environment, Climate and
as they are developed.”                         technical supply capacity at Moffat         Communications (DECC), of Ireland’s
                                                is anticipated to be exceeded in the        National Energy and Climate Plan

1   System and Renewable Data Summary Report – EirGrid
Network Development Plan 2020 - - Commission for Regulation ...
04                                           Gas Networks Ireland                       Network Development Plan 2020

1.0 Foreword

for 2021 – 2030 to the European              natural gas network can be utilised as
Commission. In recognising that              a national vehicle refuelling network,     “We are currently developing
Ireland must significantly increase          giving the commercial transport sector
its commitments to tackling climate          access to a cleaner, cheaper fuel with
                                                                                        a Hydrogen Innovation
disruption, Gas Networks Ireland             a similar operational performance to       Centre at the Brownsbarn
published “Vision 2050 - A Net Zero          diesel. Heavy goods vehicles (HGV)         AGI site in Dublin. In addition,
Carbon Gas Network for Ireland” in           account for 20% of all energy related
                                                                                        various studies are ongoing
October 2019 which sets out one              carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in
potential pathway to reducing Ireland’s      the road transport sector, despite         internally to assess the
total carbon emissions by one third, by      accounting for only 3% of the total        unique aspects of the Irish
creating a net zero carbon gas network       number of road vehicles. Gas Networks      gas network in this context.”
by 2050 through a combination of             Ireland is targeting the conversion of
technologies.                                24% of heavy goods vehicles and 13%
                                             of buses to Compressed Natural Gas
Renewable gas will provide an                (CNG) by 2030. To date, public access      Dublin. In addition, various studies are
indigenous and sustainable energy            stations at Dublin Port and Cashel have    ongoing internally to assess the unique
source, contributing significantly           been constructed, commissioned and         aspects of the Irish gas network in this
to the reduction of emissions from           are fully operational. A further nine      context.
Irish agriculture. The introduction          publicly accessible sites are contracted
of renewable gas onto the Irish gas          with Forecourt Operators, with project     Gas Networks Ireland wishes to
network for the first time in 2019 at        plans in place to deliver these stations   acknowledge the key role the Kinsale
Cush, Co. Kildare marked a significant       over the next 2 years.                     gas fields have played in the supply
milestone for the gas network. The                                                      of natural gas to Ireland since 1978,
development of this first renewable          Gas Networks Ireland welcomes the          marking over four decades of
gas injection facility delivers the          European Commission’s ‘Green Deal’,        operation. Gas Networks Ireland is
capacity to facilitate enough renewable      in particular the ambition for a net       fully committed to ensuring that gas
gas for 11,000 homes. As with other          zero emissions EU economy by 2050.         will continue to flow through its other
renewable energy technologies,               As part of the EU Green Deal, the          entry points and that security of gas
renewable gas requires state policy          Commission announced its strategies        supply will not be negatively impacted.
and incentive supports to allow this         for Energy System Integration and          Gas Networks Ireland will continue
industry to develop and grow to a long-      Hydrogen in July 2020. Both strategies     to ensure that a resilient, robust and
term competitive fuel. Gas Networks          signal a review of the gas legislative     safe gas network is maintained to
Ireland also recognises that the             framework in 2021 which will deliver “a    ensure security of supply to customers
renewable gas industry needs to take         competitive decarbonised gas market”.      through appropriate and efficient
a series of steps to deliver long-term       Gas Networks Ireland will continue         investment.
competitiveness and this will require        to monitor these developments and
a coordinated approach across all            progression on delivering on the EU        We would like to acknowledge the
stakeholders.                                Green Deal and will proactively engage     contribution of all stakeholders
                                             with EU and national stakeholders          during the process of preparing this
Gas Networks Ireland is developing a         in the context of considerations and       document. We welcome feedback at:
network of Compressed Natural Gas            implications for the Irish gas market.
(CNG) re-fuelling stations for public
and private network operators. This          Gas Networks Ireland is active in a
will help establish a network of CNG         number of European gas organisations
refuelling facilities along Irelands TEN-T   that are assessing the readiness
Core Road Network, as required under         of existing gas networks to carry
EU and National Policy on alternative        hydrogen, including blends of natural      Denis O’Sullivan,
fuels, and thus facilitating a transition    gas and hydrogen. We are currently         Managing Director,
to both natural gas and renewable            developing a Hydrogen Innovation           Gas Networks Ireland
gas as alternative fuels. The existing       Centre at the Brownsbarn AGI site in
Network Development Plan 2020 - - Commission for Regulation ...
Network Development Plan 2020 - - Commission for Regulation ...
06   Gas Networks Ireland     Network Development Plan 2020


     The Network Development Plan (NDP)
     provides a view of how the gas network
     may develop over a ten-year period. It
     is based on current supply and demand
     for gas, as well as projections for growth
     in gas consumption and development
     of infrastructure. This report is being
     published in accordance with Gas Networks
     Ireland’s statutory requirements.
Network Development Plan 2020 - - Commission for Regulation ...
Gas Networks Ireland                       Executive summary                                                              07

The assessment horizon covered in          Net Zero Carbon Gas Network for
this report covers the ten-year period     Ireland. Through a combination of              Through a combination
from 2019/20 to 2028/29 inclusive.         technologies, Gas Networks Ireland
The input data and assumptions used        sets out one potential pathway
                                                                                          of technologies, Gas
for modelling gas supply and demand        to reducing Ireland’s total carbon             Networks Ireland sets out
scenarios over the ten-year period         emissions by one third by creating a net       one potential pathway to
were finalised in July 2020, in line       zero carbon gas network. Vision 2050
                                                                                          reducing Ireland’s total
with the modelling ‘Data Freeze’ date.     outlines one potential role that the gas
Further to this modelling data freeze,     network and key technologies such as           carbon emissions by one
production of the report extended to       renewable gas, compressed natural              third by creating a net
September 2020, and hence any non-         gas for transport, Carbon Capture and          zero carbon gas network.
modelling information such as historic     Storage (CCS) and hydrogen can play
gas demand, project status and other       in tackling climate change while also
ancillary developments in the gas and      ensuring that Ireland has a sustainable
wider energy industry, available up        and secure energy future. Vision 2050
until 30th September 2020 have been        demonstrates how the gas network           growth in 2019/20 against the previous
included in this report.                   supports decarbonisation for domestic      year. Gas demand in this sector
                                           customers, industrial users, transport,    decreased by 1.6%. Within this figure
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a            agriculture and power generation.          a tale of 2 halves has emerged over
notable impact on gas demand in                                                       the 2019/20 gas year, whereby I/C gas
Ireland, since restrictions were first     Gas Networks Ireland is currently          demand was up by 3.5% in the first half
applied in March 2020. Commentary          preparing a Network Implementation         of the gas year (October 2019– March
has been included in this NDP on           Plan in compliance with S.I. No.           2020), whereas I/C gas demand was
the resulting short-term impacts the       435/2004 – European Communities            down by 7.4% in the second half of
pandemic has had on gas demand,            (Environmental Assessment of Certain       the gas year (April 2020 – September
as observed since March 2020. It is        Plans and Programmes) Regulations          2020), when compared against the
still very early stages in assessing       2004, as amended (“SEA Regulations”)       same periods in 2018/19. This trend is
the potential medium to long-term          and S.I. No. 477/2011- European            linked to the economic impact of the
impact on the Irish economy and            Communities (Birds and Natural             COVID-19 related ongoing restrictions.
consequentially on projected gas           Habitats) Regulations, as amended          Residential sector gas demand
demand in Ireland. The assumptions         (“AA Regulations”). The Network            increased by 5.6% in 2019/20, the
made in the NDP on the potential           Implementation Plan will set out in        majority portion of this growth being
short-term future economic impact          more detail on the manner in which         weather-related, with the balance being
of COVID-19 are based on the best          projects identified in the Network         related to new connections.
available information at the time of the   Development Plan will be developed
modelling ‘Data Freeze’. However, given    and the potential for cumulative effects   In the power generation sector, annual
the fluid nature of the pandemic and       on the environment that may arise          gas demand for 2019/20 was 2.2%
the associated economic impact, the        from these projects.                       above 2018/19 levels. This was despite
gas demand forecasting assumptions                                                    an increase in installed wind generation
for NDP 2020 carry a high degree of        Annual Republic of Ireland (ROI) gas       over the same period, and a reduction
uncertainty. Next year’s NDP (2021)        demands for 2019/20 were 1.5% higher       in electricity demand following the
will re-visit these assumptions and        than 2018/19 demands following             introduction of the COVID-19 related
adjust them accordingly as further         on from a similar increase (2.0%) in       restrictions in March 2020.
information becomes available on the       the previous year. It is notable in the
potential longer-term economic impact      context of the COVID-19 pandemic,          Gas fired power generation accounted
of the COVID-19 pandemic.                  and the associated unprecedented           for approximately 52% of Ireland’s
                                           changes to how we now operate in our       electricity generation in 2019, as the
Gas Networks Ireland, together with        daily lives, Industrial and Commercial     gas network continues to complement
its parent company Ervia, published        (I/C) annual gas demand was the only       renewable generation. The partnership
in October 2019, the Vision 2050 - A       sector which experienced negative          between flexible gas-fired power
Network Development Plan 2020 - - Commission for Regulation ...
08                                         Gas Networks Ireland                      Network Development Plan 2020

2.0 Executive summary

generation and intermittent                namely Low, Best estimate and High        The development of peak day demands
renewable generation will be a key         demand scenarios. These scenarios are     across the various scenarios shows
factor in enabling Ireland’s renewable     designed to represent a broad range of    the same broad trends as the annual
integration ambition into the future, as   likely outcomes and are informed by a     demand forecasts. However, there are a
set out in the Climate Action Plan and     range of external and internal factors.   number of key differences, particularly
the National Energy and Climate Plan.      The NDP Best Estimate scenario is         regarding the power generation sector
                                           aligned to the ENTSOG/ENTSOE TYNDP        gas demand profile. Over the forecast
In 2019 approximately 47% of Ireland’s     Best Estimate and National Trends         horizon 1-in-50 peak day demand is
gas demand (ROI) was supplied from         scenarios.                                predicted to grow by 19.1%, and by
indigenous sources. The balance of                                                   21.5% for the average year peak in the
supply, almost 53% came through the        In the Best Estimate demand scenario      Best Estimate demand scenario.
subsea interconnectors via the Moffat      annual ROI gas demand is expected
Entry Point in Scotland. July 2020         to grow by 23% between 2019/20 and        The Corrib gas field is expected to
marked the final commercial volumes        2028/29 with 7% growth forecast in        meet approximately 27% of annual Gas
of gas supply from the Kinsale gas         the Low demand scenario and growth        Networks Ireland system demands
fields onto the Gas Networks Ireland       of 45% forecast in the High demand        (35% of ROI demand) in 2020/21, with
transmission system via the Inch Entry     scenarios respectively over the same      the Moffat Entry Point providing the
Point.                                     horizon. These trends are dominated       remaining 73%.
                                           by the strong continued requirement
In order to inform how the gas network     for gas fired power generation in         There are a large number of properties
may develop over a ten-year period,        the electricity system to meet the        located close to the gas network
and to provide a comprehensive             projected levels of demand growth in      which are not connected to natural
analysis, Gas Networks Ireland has         the electricity system.                   gas. It is estimated that there are over
developed three gas demand scenarios                                                 700,000 households in Ireland using
for the period 2019/20 to 2028/29,                                                   oil for central heating of which 300,000
Gas Networks Ireland                        Executive summary                                                              09

                                            Networks Ireland has developed a          K Cashel on the M8 motorway. The
“Gas Networks Ireland                       combined offering of natural gas,         stations are fully operational and
                                            renewable gas and dark fibre services     have been integrated with Circle K’s
now facilitates direct grid                 (through its subsidiary Aurora            systems, and as such CNG is now
injection projects through a                Telecom) to provide the data centre       sold through the forecourt in a similar
connection policy framework                 sector with its primary source of         fashion to diesel and petrol. A further
                                            energy and fibre connectivity. Natural    nine publicly accessible sites are
and is also supporting
                                            gas can be used for onsite energy         contracted with Forecourt Operators,
remote cluster developments                 generation leveraging the existing        with project plans in place to deliver
with Central Grid Injection                 reliable gas network infrastructure,      these stations over the next 2 years. In
(CGI) infrastructure.”                      offering data centre operators a          addition, a private fast-fill CNG station
                                            primary source of power for data          is fully operational at the Clean Ireland
                                            centres requiring 99.999% availability,   Recycling premises in Smithstown
                                            flexible on-site generation capacity      Industrial Estate, Shannon, Co. Clare.
are located in close proximity to the       to complement flexible grid power         Clean Ireland Recycling have replaced
gas network and could be readily            connections, or back up generation        a portion of their diesel-powered fleet
connected to gas resulting in significant   to cater for grid power outages.          with dedicated CNG waste collection
benefits from an environmental              Gas Networks Ireland expects the          vehicles, the first of their kind to be
perspective, considering natural gas        penetration of gas connections in this    operated in Ireland. The company plan
emits 22% less CO2 and negligible levels    sector to increase in the coming years.   to transition the rest of their fleet to
of nitrogen dioxide (NOx) & sulphur                                                   these lower-emission CNG trucks in the
dioxide (SOx) versus oil. Where there       Gas Networks Ireland is targeting the     coming years.
is no natural gas network available,        conversion of 24% of heavy goods
Gas Networks Ireland supports deep          vehicles (HGV) and 13% of buses           In 2017, Gas Networks Ireland
retrofit investment to bring as many of     to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)           launched its Compressed Natural Gas
Ireland’s homes to a B2 energy rating       by 2030. By the end of the current        Vehicle Fund making up to €20,000
standard. However, where homes              NDP period (2028/29), Gas Networks        available to businesses towards the
using oil (to provide heating and hot       Ireland is expecting to see annual        purchase of a new Natural Gas Vehicle
water) are located on or close to the       CNG demand of circa 837.8 GWh/yr.         (NGV). The Vehicle Fund has made a
natural gas network, Gas Networks           Gas Networks Ireland is conducting a      total of €700k of funding available to
Ireland recommends upgrading these          project for a nationwide CNG fuelling     transport operators, supporting the
homes to a B2 BER by carrying out           network, co-located in existing           purchase of a range of commercial
basic insulation, switching to high         forecourts, on major routes and/or        vehicles including trucks, buses
efficiency condensing gas boilers and       close to urban centres. This will help    and vans powered by Compressed
controls, replacing lighting with LED       satisfy the requirements of the EU’s      Natural Gas (CNG), and is part of a
equivalents and installing solar PV         (European Union) Alternative Fuels        process to promote natural gas as a
panels. This work can be carried out at     Directive which aims to establish CNG     transport fuel in Ireland. The Vehicle
up to one third of the cost of the deep     refuelling facilities along the TEN-T     Fund is supported by the Commission
retrofit works, and with significantly      Core Road Network. The initial phase      for Regulation of Utilities (CRU) and
less disruption. This proposal means        of this network rollout is through the    is co-financed by the European
that up to 300,000 homes could be           Causeway Study which has begun to         Union’s TEN-T Programme under the
upgraded to a B2 BER at one third of        deliver this essential infrastructure.    Connecting Europe Facility as part of
the cost of the alternative deep retrofit   The CNG Stations will be strategically    the Causeway Project. This has been
costs, reducing CO2 emissions while         located to deliver the required           successfully allocated supporting
also future proofing these homes for        outputs of the Causeway Study and to      39 dedicated natural gas vehicles in
renewable gas as it becomes available       maximise utilisation of the assets.       the market. These vehicles alone are
in greater quantities on the network.                                                 expected to utilise up to 20 GWh/ of
                                            Public access stations have been          CNG, emitting approximately 4,600
Ireland has rapidly emerged as a            constructed at the Circle K Service       tonnes less of CO2 per year.
prime data hosting destination. Gas         Station in Dublin Port, and at Circle
10                                            Gas Networks Ireland                           Network Development Plan 2020

2.0 Executive summary

Gas Networks Ireland commissioned             establish the basis for “the coordinated
the first renewable gas grid injection        planning and operation of the energy           “Gas Networks Ireland
facility in Cush, County Kildare, and it      system as a whole, across multiple energy
was officially declared an Entry Point in     carriers”. In parallel, the EC’s Hydrogen
                                                                                             will continue to ensure
May 2020. Gas Networks Ireland now            Strategy sets out an ambitious roadmap         that a resilient, robust
facilitates direct grid injection projects    for the development of a European              and safe gas network is
through a connection policy framework         hydrogen economy by 2030. According
                                                                                             maintained to customers
and is also supporting remote cluster         to the Commission, hydrogen “offers a
developments with Central Grid                solution to decarbonise industrial processes   through appropriate and
Injection (CGI) infrastructure. As with       and economic sectors where reducing            efficient investment”
other renewable energy technologies,          carbon emissions is both urgent and
renewable gas requires state policy           hard to achieve”. Both strategies signal
and incentive supports to allow this          a “review of the legislative framework to
industry to develop and grow to a             design a competitive decarbonised gas          Networks Ireland will mitigate against
long-term competitive fuel. With              market, fit for renewable gases”, by 2021.     these modelled system constraints to
the pending implementation of the             Gas Networks Ireland will continue             maintain system resilience and security
support scheme for the production             to monitor these developments                  of supply. Any such mitigating works
and grid injection of biomethane, Gas         and proactively engage with EU and             are identified as part of the Network
Networks Ireland has produced three           national stakeholders, in the context of       Implementation Plan.
renewable gas production forecasts            considerations and implications for the
(Low, Best Estimate and High) based           Irish gas market.                              During late 2017 and early 2018, the
on assumed different levels of support.                                                      gas network has again demonstrated
The National Energy and Climate Plan          Gas Networks Ireland is in the fourth          its resilience through extreme weather
(NECP) has proposed an indicative             year of its fourth regulatory Price            events Storms Emma and Ophelia, with
target of 1.6 TWh/yr biomethane               Control period (PC4) which concludes           no loss of gas supply to households,
production by 2030, which will be             in September 2022. The CRU has                 businesses or the power generation
reviewed in 2023 as part of the review        given a capital allowance of €554m             sector.
process for the NECP. In maintaining          for investment in the distribution and
alignment to current policy measures,         transmission networks.                         Gas Networks Ireland will continue to
the NDP Best Estimate scenario                                                               ensure that a resilient, robust and safe
assumes 1.4 TWh/yr of renewable gas           Capacity limitations are identified on         gas network is maintained to customers
in the supply mix by the end of the           the network and addressed through              through appropriate and efficient
current NDP period (2028/29), but             appropriate capital investment                 investment. In the context of Brexit, in
further scope remains for renewable           programmes in order to ensure                  addition to continued collaboration with
gas production beyond the NECP                continuity of supply to all customers.         our UK counterparts, Gas Networks
indicative target.                            In 2019, 11 projects were completed            Ireland is fully committed to ensuring
The landmark European ‘Green Deal’            including 3 AGI Capacity Upgrades,             that gas will continue to flow through
was announced by the European                 7 Reinforcements of the Distribution           its interconnectors and that gas supply
Commission (EC) in December 2019,             Network and 1 CNG station located in           will not be negatively impacted following
with the intention of transforming the        Cashel. These projects were subject            completion of the transitional period.
EU into a “fair and prosperous society,       to the appropriate consenting and
with a modern, resource-efficient and         planning regimes as set out in Section 3.
competitive economy where there are no
net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050”.   Gas Networks Ireland continuously
Following this, of keen interest to Gas       undertakes detailed system modelling
Networks Ireland was the adoption of          of the network in order to assess the
the constituent EU strategies for Energy      capacity of the network. The Best
System Integration and Hydrogen               Estimate demand scenario identified
announced in July 2020. The Strategy for      in Section 6 is modelled to identify any
Energy System Integration sets out to         potential capacity constraints. Gas
12   Gas Networks Ireland       Network Development Plan 2020


     Key messages:
     The gas network currently consists of 2,477
     km of high pressure steel transmission
     pipelines and 12,044 km lower pressure
     polyethylene distribution pipelines.
     Natural gas is available in 21 counties and
     there are circa 700,000 users in Ireland.
     The Network Development Plan (NDP)
     provides a view of how the gas network may
     develop over a ten-year period. It is based on
     current supply and demand for gas, as well
     as projections for growth in gas consumption
     and development of infrastructure.
Gas Networks Ireland                        Introduction                                                                    13

3.1 Licence/regulatory                      The project of common interest (PCI         large capital projects and proposed
obligations                                 12.6), the Ervia Cork Carbon Capture        new technologies, these projects are
Gas Networks Ireland is a wholly            Utilisation & Storage (CCUS) project,       subject to the appropriate consenting
owned subsidiary of Ervia and was           was included on the 4th list of PCI         and planning regimes as set out
established in accordance with the          projects as published in October            under the Gas Acts 1976 to 2009,
Gas Regulation Act 2013, as amended.        2019. This potential project will involve   the Planning and Development Acts
It owns and operates the natural gas        the development of the necessary            2000 to 2011 and other relevant
transmission and distribution networks      infrastructure to transport captured        National and European law. In
in Ireland. As Ireland’s gas Transmission   CO2 from a CCUS cluster of heavy            order to assist with its obligations
System Operator (TSO), Gas Networks         industry (oil refinery) and two gas         in this regard, Gas Networks Ireland
Ireland is required to submit a ten-year    fired CCGTs to enable the CO2 to be         implements an environmental and
Network Development Plan to the             transported either to local geological      planning assessment procedure for
Commission of Regulation of Utilities       store or if unavailable to another store    works designed and planned for Gas
(CRU) in accordance with Article 22 of      managed by another CCUS project             Networks Ireland. This procedure
EU Directive 2009/73/EC and Article 11      developer.                                  includes an environmental assessment
of the EC2 (Internal Market in Natural                                                  tool known as ‘envirokit’ supported
Gas and Electricity) (Amendment)            The project of common interest (PCI         by a guidance document known
Regulations 2015. Gas Networks              12.4), the Northern Lights project, was     as ‘enviroplan’. Together they are a
Ireland is also obliged to submit a long-   included on the 4th list of PCI projects    bespoke environmental planning
term development statement to the           as published in October 2019. The           and assessment tool modelled on
CRU in accordance with condition 11 of      project, being led by the Norwegian         environmental legal and regulatory
its Transmission System Operator and        company Equinor and in which Ervia is       requirements and best environmental
Distribution System Operator licences.      a partner, is a commercial CO2 cross-       practice, including requirements
The publication of the NDP also             border transport connection project         pursuant to the EIA Directive (85/337/
satisfies the requirements of Section       between several European capture            EEC), as amended and the Habitats
19 of the Gas (Interim) (Regulations) Act   initiatives where the captured CO2 will     Directive (92/43/EEC), as amended. This
2002, as amended by the European            be transported by ship to a storage site    procedure ensures that environmental
Communities (Security of Natural Gas        on the Norwegian continental shelf.         and planning matters and appropriate
Supply) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 697                                                  mitigation measures are considered
of 2007). This requires the CRU to          The 5th PCI list is expected to             and communicated during the design
monitor and publish a report outlining      be published by the European                and project planning stages of all
gas supply and demand in Ireland over       Commission in October 2021. ENTSOG          Gas Network Ireland projects. Gas
seven years.                                will evaluate all candidate gas projects    Networks Ireland is currently preparing
                                            as required, as part of its Ten-Year        a Network Implementation Plan which
In accordance with Article 3 of             Network Development Plan (TYNDP)            will be screened for the purposes of
Regulation (EU) 347/2013, as amended,       and project promoters will need to          compliance with the SEA (Strategic
on guidelines for trans-European            apply to the European Commission for        Environmental Assessment) and AA
energy infrastructure, Gas Networks         inclusion on the 5th PCI list in 2021.      (Appropriate Assessment) Regulations
Ireland is obliged to confer with                                                       and which will set out in more detail
regional groups on relevant regional        3.2 Environmental and                       the manner in which projects identified
and national infrastructure plans.          planning considerations                     in the Network Development Plan will
                                            The purpose of the NDP is to assess         be developed and it will also assess the
The project of common interest (PCI         the gas network’s capacity based            potential for cumulative effects on the
5.3), Shannon LNG, has been included        on existing and forecast supply and         environment that may arise from these
on the 4th PCI list published in October    demand in order to guarantee the            projects.
2019. This independent third-party          adequacy of the gas transportation
project potentially involves a new          system and security of supply.
entry point near Ballylongford in Co.       While it outlines a number of capital
Kerry and a connection to the ROI gas       projects which will be delivered over
transmission system.                        the coming years, future proposed

2   European Commission
14                                        Gas Networks Ireland                       Network Development Plan 2020

3.0 Introduction

3.3 Overview of the Gas                   From just 31 km of transmission            The distribution infrastructure is
Networks Ireland system                   pipeline in 1978, the Gas Networks         typically operated at 4 barg and
Gas Networks Ireland builds, develops     Ireland network currently consists         less than 100 mbarg for inner city
and operates Ireland’s world-class gas    of 2,477 km of high pressure steel         networks.
infrastructure, maintaining over 14,521   transmission pipelines and 12,044
km of gas pipelines and two sub-sea       km lower pressure polyethylene             The natural gas network has
interconnectors.                          distribution pipelines, as well as Above   demonstrated resilience and reliability
                                          Ground Installations (AGIs), District      through severe winter weather
The Gas Networks Ireland transmission     Regulating Installations (DRIs) and        conditions, particularly during January
network includes onshore Scotland,        compressor stations. AGIs and DRIs are     and December 2010 when record
interconnectors and the onshore           used to control and reduce pressures       sub-zero temperatures were recorded.
ROI network. The interconnector           on the network.                            During late 2017 and early 2018, the
(IC) sub-system comprises of two                                                     gas network again demonstrated its
subsea interconnectors between ROI        The ROI onshore part of the system         resilience through extreme weather
and Scotland; compressor stations         consists primarily of a ring-main          events, storm Emma and Ophelia, with
at Beattock and Brighouse Bay. The        system with spur lines serving various     no loss of gas supply to households,
interconnector system connects            network configurations.                    businesses or the power generation
to Great Britain’s (GB) National                                                     sector. Natural gas is available in 21
Transmission System (NTS) at Moffat       The gas infrastructure is differentiated   counties and there are circa 700,000
in Scotland. It also supplies gas to      by the following pressure regimes:         users in Ireland. Gas Networks Ireland
the Northern Ireland (NI) market via                                                 is responsible for connecting all new
                                          ྲྲ High pressure transmission
Twynholm, Scotland and the Isle of                                                   gas customers to the network, and for
                                             infrastructure which operates above
Man (IOM) market via the second                                                      work on service pipes and meters at
                                             16 barg;
subsea interconnector (IC2).                                                         customers’ premises, on behalf of all
                                          ྲྲ Distribution infrastructure which       gas suppliers in Ireland.
                                             operates below 16 barg.

Figure 3-1: Gas Networks Ireland total network breakdown

2,477 km                                                                                                          12,044 km
transmission                                                                                                     distribution
pipeline                                                                                                             pipeline

                                            Total network length
                                                  14,521 km
Gas Networks Ireland                                                  Introduction                                                                                                                   15

   Figure 3-2: Overview of the Gas
   Networks Ireland transmission system

   Existing Pipelines
   Pipelines Owned by Others
   Interconnection Points
   Entry Point
   Renewable Gas Entry Point

                                                                                                                     Coleraine                                                                          Beattock
                                                                                      Derry City
                                                                                                                                                                             Twynholm AGI
                                                                                                                                                                          Brighouse Bay     Kirkcudbright
                                                                                           Strabane                           Antrim
                                                                                                     Cookstown                               Carrickfergus
                                                                                       Omagh                     Coalisland                Belfast
                                                                                                          Dungannon     Lurgan

Corrib Gas Field                                                                                           Portadown           Craigavon
                                                                      Enniskillen                        Armagh                  Banbridge
                   Bellanaboy                                                              Tullykenney
                                                                                                            Lough Egish
                                         Ballina                                                                                                                r2
                                                                                            Cootehill                                                       cto                  Isle of Man
                                                                                                                                                      n  ne

                                       Castlebar                                           Bailieborough      Kingscourt
                                                                                             Virginia                                                           ec

                         Westport                  Claremorris                                         Kells                   Drogheda

                        Ballinrobe                                                                                                Gormanston
                                                                        Ballymahon         Mullingar
                           Headford                                   Athlone
                                                                                                                 Kilcock           Loughshinny
                            Galway                                                               Prosperous                        Dublin
                                                                               Tullamore                             Naas
                              Craughwell                                                            Kildare             Bray
                                                                 Tynagh        Portarlington                   Blessington
                                                     Loughrea                     Monasterevin                Ballymore Eustace
                                                                                Portlaoise             Kilcullen
                                                                                             Cush       Rathdrum
                                    Ennis      Sixmilebridge             Nenagh                       Carlow             Arklow
                                                              Ballina            Ballyragget
                                Shannon                                                          Kilkenny
                          Aughinish            Askeaton        Tipperary
                                                               Town               Cashel
                                                                                      Carrick-on-Suir       Island
                        Listowel      Charleville                                                                             Wexford
                                                        Mitchelstown              Clonmel                Waterford
                                                                         Ardfinnan          Tramore
                                             Mallow                                                      Belview
                                                            Fermoy                                       Port

                                        Bandon                   Whitegate
                                                            Kinsale        Inch Terminal

                                                        Kinsale Head Gas Field
                                                        Seven Heads Gas Field
                                                                                       ]    The Kinsale gas fields and the associated Inch Entry Point
                                                                                            are currently undergoing a decommissioning process.
16   Gas Networks Ireland       Network Development Plan 2020

     The future of the
     gas network

     Key messages:
     Gas Networks Ireland, together with its
     parent company Ervia, published “Vision
     2050 - A Net Zero Carbon Gas Network for
     Ireland” on the 3rd of October 2019.
     Replacing diesel in HGVs and buses with CNG
     can deliver immediate emissions reductions,
     air quality improvement (by eliminating
     particulate matter) and noise reduction.
     CCS can capture up to 100% of the CO2
     emissions produced from the use of fossil
     fuels in electricity generation and industrial
     processes, significantly reducing the amount
     of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.
     Hydrogen may be stored indefinitely
     and may be used in heat, transport,
     industry or power generation.
     Gas Networks Ireland welcomes the strength of
     the ambition and the associated governance set
     out in the Climate Action Plan and recognises
     that Ireland must significantly increase its
     commitments to tacking climate disruption.
Gas Networks Ireland                                The future of the gas network                                                            17

Gas Networks Ireland, together with
its parent company Ervia, published
“Vision 2050 – A Net Zero Carbon Gas
Network for Ireland”3 on the 3rd of
October 2019. Through a combination
of technologies, Gas Networks Ireland
sets out one potential pathway
to reducing Ireland’s total carbon
emissions by one third by creating a
net zero carbon gas network.

Vision 2050 outlines one potential
role that the gas network and key
technologies such as renewable gas,
compressed natural gas (CNG) for
transport, carbon capture and storage
(CCS) and hydrogen can play in tackling
climate change while also ensuring
that Ireland has a sustainable and
secure energy future. Vision 2050
demonstrates how the gas network
supports decarbonisation for domestic
customers, industrial users, transport,
agriculture and power generation.

Today, gas is used to generate
approximately 52% of Ireland’s
electricity. A move to achieving a 70%
renewable energy share in electricity
generation (RES-E), such as from
wind and solar, is planned by 2030                  Ireland has a secure energy supply at               CCS, meaning Ireland can continue to
as part of ambitious national climate               all times.                                          benefit from the reliability of the gas
action targets. And while Ireland                                                                       network in a low carbon future.
has excellent renewable resources,                  Natural Gas is the earth’s cleanest
renewable energy, by its very                       fossil fuel. It emits 40% less CO2 than             In line with emerging energy policy and
nature, is intermittent – sometimes                 coal and 22% less CO2 than oil4. It also            climate ambition targets, Gas Networks
the wind doesn’t blow, or the sun                   produces negligible levels of nitrogen              Ireland is continuously reviewing and
doesn’t shine. As such, for renewable               dioxide (NOx) and sulphur dioxide (SOx)             developing further potential pathways
energy to achieve its full potential,               compared to oil or coal. Switching from             to achieve a decarbonised gas network
investment in complementary energy                  these higher carbon fuels to natural                by 2050, with a view to complementing
is required. Natural gas is the optimal             gas can deliver immediate emissions                 and enhancing the pathway set out
complementary energy source for                     benefits. The existing gas network is               in Vision 2050. It is intended to share
renewable energy such as wind and                   already capable of taking on significant            these pathways as the Vision 2050
solar. Achieving 70% RES-E will require             new energy demands. Crucially,                      publication is refreshed through future
a significant reliance on gas powered               up to 100% of the carbon dioxide                    editions.
electricity generation to provide the               emissions from gas powered electricity
balance of requirements and to ensure               generation can be captured through

4   Government of Ireland, 2019, Climate Action Plan,
18                                          Gas Networks Ireland                         Network Development Plan 2020

4.0 The future of the gas network

Figure 4-1: The future of the gas network

                                Natural gas imports

                               Indigenous natural gas

                                                             injection                               CNG

                                                                                 Local anerobic      RNG


                                       H    C   H


                                                   Off site
                                                agri anerobic

                         BIO                                                                       Industrial &
                                                                         Hydrogen                  commercial        Residential

Gas Networks Ireland                                The future of the gas network                                          19

   Gas fired            Industrial &            Data
  heat pumps           commercial             centres           Residential




                Power                              CO2 capture unit           CO2 compression            CO2 underground
              generation                                                       & conditioning                 storage



           Electrolysis       O2 H2

                                                                      Steam methane

20                                                 Gas Networks Ireland                          Network Development Plan 2020

4.0 The future of the gas network

4.1 Compressed                                     (Transport) provides more detail in           sustainable feedstock and consider
Natural Gas (CNG)                                  relation to CNG.                              how the supports necessary to reach
CNG is natural gas stored under high                                                             such a target would be funded5. Gas
pressure. Replacing diesel in HGVs                 4.2 Renewable gas                             Networks Ireland is active in facilitating
and buses with CNG can deliver                     Renewable Gas is biomethane (purified         the emergence and uptake of this new
immediate emissions reductions, air                biogas) produced from existing waste          energy source via the existing gas
quality improvement (by eliminating                streams and a variety of sustainable          network. A network of renewable gas
particulate matter) and noise                      biomass sources, including grass,             injection points is under development
reduction. CNG is particularly well                animal waste, crop residues and food          with the first commissioned in 2019.
suited to delivering the high power                waste. It is net zero carbon, extremely       Gas Networks Ireland is working
and distance requirements of heavy-                versatile and fully compatible with           with Teagasc, Marine and Renewable
duty transport including HGVs, buses               existing gas network infrastructure.          Energy Ireland (MaREI) and other key
and ships. Bio-CNG is renewable gas                It is identical in standard to natural        stakeholders to develop plans for a
stored under high pressure. It can be              gas and can be used for all the same          renewable gas industry for Ireland
used as a renewable transport fuel                 applications, using the same machinery        in partnership with farmers and
in the same way as CNG but delivers                (boilers, appliances, etc.). It can be        communities. Gas Networks Ireland
even greater emissions savings. Gas                blended with, or can act as a substitute      has implemented a registry system
Networks Ireland is conducting studies             for, natural gas.                             to issue certificates for renewable gas
for a nationwide CNG fuelling network,                                                           injected into the Gas Networks Ireland
co-located in existing forecourts, on              Action 130 of the Climate Action              grid (Green Gas Certificates). This
major routes and/ or close to urban                Plan sets out the Government’s                system provides proof of the origin
centres. This comprehensive refuelling             intention to set a target for the level of    and sustainability of renewable gas
station network will allow a transition            energy to be supplied by indigenous           sources which will stimulate the use of
to both natural gas and renewable                  biomethane injection in 2030, taking          renewable gas by industry and other
gas as alternative fuels. Section 8.4              account of the domestic supplies of           sectors.

Figure 4-2: Renewable gas story
                                                                   Cleaner environment

              Cleaner energy                                                             Agriculture
                for electricity,
             heat & transport                                                                                        Food production

                                               The renewable
                                                 gas story
       Renewable gas                                                                             Farm & food waste
     injected into the
         gas network

                Renewable gas                                                            Anaerobic digester

                                               Carbon neutral renewable gas

Gas Networks Ireland                                The future of the gas network                                                   21

Figure 4-3: Carbon capture and storage


    Gas-fired CCGT                     Carbon                           CO2                      CO2                     CO2
    power plant or                  capture unit                   compression             transportation           underground
      industry                                                         and                                            storage

    Existing or new                 All of the CO2               The captured CO2         CO2 is transported      The CO2 is injected
     power plant /                 separated from                 is compressed           by pipeline or ship      into the depleted
    emissions point                  exhaust gas                     and dried            to a suitable store       oil and gas field
                                                                                                                  or a saline aquifer
                                                                                                                     for permanent

It is envisioned that a number of                   captured CO2 is then compressed             Climate Action Plan further identified
Centralised Grid Injection facilities will          and conditioned and transported to a        the potential for CCS and set about the
be geographically dispersed across the              suitable storage site, either an offshore   establishment of a Steering Group to
country at locations in close proximity             depleted gas field or a saline aquifer.     examine and oversee the feasibility of
to the existing gas grid. Renewable                                                             the utilisation of CCS in Ireland.
gas producers within 60km of the                    From a policy perspective, the Irish        Working in conjunction with the
existing gas grid will be able to avail of          Government’s National Mitigation            Government’s CCS Steering Group,
these facilities, using high capacity gas           Plan6 (NMP) (2017) recognised that          Gas Networks Ireland and Ervia are
storage trailers to transport their gas             “CCS could facilitate decarbonisation       currently carrying out a study into
via road, and inject into the national              of our electricity sector while allowing    the feasibility of CCS for Ireland. In
gas grid. The locations of these Central            an appropriate level of gas fired           October 2019, EirGrid, published their
Gas Injection facilities are not yet                generation to balance intermittent          Tomorrow’s Energy Scenarios (TES)
finalised, and Gas Networks Ireland is              renewable generation”. The policy           2019 report. The TES sets out a range
currently assessing their feasibility.              document committed to an action             of credible pathways for Ireland’s clean
                                                    to “explore the feasibility of utilising    energy transition, with specific focus
4.3 Carbon Capture                                  suitable reservoirs of CO2 storage”         on what it means for the electricity
and Storage (CCS)                                   while also recognising that a feasibility   transmission system over the next 20
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a               study should be undertaken to               years. The TES is based on Government
suite of technologies that can capture              determine the potential application of      policy objectives around renewable
up to 95% of the carbon dioxide (CO2)               CCS in Ireland in the future.               energy share in electricity (RES-E) and
emissions produced from the use of                                                              emission reductions targets. Two of
fossil fuels in electricity generation              Leading on from the NMP, in June 2019       the three scenarios modelled deliver
and industrial processes, significantly             the Government published its “Climate       70% RES-E by 2030 with both scenarios
reducing the amount of carbon                       Action Plan 2019 – To Tackle Climate        deploying CCS as a decarbonising
dioxide entering the atmosphere. The                Breakdown”. Action 33 from the              technology. The scenario which does

22                                          Gas Networks Ireland                         Network Development Plan 2020

4.0 The future of the gas network

                                            Gas Networks Ireland in conjunction          Ervia Cork Carbon Capture Utilisation &
“The Norwegian government                   with Ervia is investigating the potential    Storage (CCUS) Project (PCI 12.6). This
                                            for a large-scale CCS project in Ireland     project will involve the development
has committed to supporting                 to capture the CO2 from a number of          of the necessary infrastructure to
the Northern Lights                         gas-fired CCGT power plants (so that         transport captured CO2 from a CCUS
project with c. €1.5 bn to                  they can provide low-carbon electricity)     cluster of heavy industry (oil refinery)
                                            and from large-scale industrial emitters.    and two gas fired CCGTs to enable the
develop a store which will
                                            The initial phase of the feasibility         CO2 to be transported either to local
be open to receive CO2                      study looked to quantify the potential       geological store or if unavailable to
from across Europe. “                       for CCS across electricity generation        another store managed by another
                                            and industry and concentrated on             CCUS project developer. The import
                                            indigenous storage at the depleted           infrastructure and geological store
not deploy CCS does not meet either         Kinsale Head gas field. Initial              will also be made available as a
the RES-E or the emissions reduction        assessments of the potential for storage     backup storage facility to other CCUS
targets. EirGrid identify the benefit       at the Kinsale field are positive and over   developments. The utilisation of CO2
of ‘pursuing both CCS and renewable         the coming years Ervia will progress         was included in the project scope to
gas options for Ireland as this reduces     further the feasibility and the potential    account for the reuse of a proportion
the reliance on a single option, while      for CCS with indigenous storage.             of CO2 as a feedstock to industry.
helping to mitigate as much as possible
a long-term reliance on non-abated          During this phase of the feasibility         In May 2020 Ervia applied to the CEF
fossil fuels’.                              study, Ervia engaged with the                fund to undertake pre-Front End
                                            Norwegian company Equinor, a world           Engineering and Design (FEED) studies
Currently in Ireland, natural gas           leader in CCS technology. In September       of the key components of a CO2
fired power generation makes up             2019, Ervia signed a Memorandum              transportation network under the Ervia
approximately 52% of Ireland’s current      of Understanding with Equinor and            PCI. Following on from this, in October
electricity needs and at certain            will now work with Equinor and the           2020 Ervia received notification that
times of the year, June/July 2018, this     Norwegian Government’s wider                 the application was successful. The
has averaged at over 70% and has            ‘Northern Lights’ project which aims to      study will examine different scenarios
peaked at up to 90%. Ireland also has       drive CCS development across Europe.         of CO2 emissions, including volume and
a large percentage of its electricity       The Norwegian government has                 supply profiles, and will focus initially
needs met by renewable generation           committed to supporting the Northern         on the Cork CCUS cluster but will be
(approximately 31% in 2019) which           Lights project with c. €1.5 bn to develop    applicable to all other potential clusters
in the long term is expected to need        a store which will be open to receive        in Ireland.
low-carbon dispatchable generation          CO2 from across Europe. If successful,
to back it up and to provide electricity    the project would see carbon                 Ervia and Gas Networks Ireland will
when there isn’t any renewable              emissions from Ireland’s electricity         continue to assess CCS options for
generation available.                       production and large industry                power generation and industry, and
                                            captured and exported via ship to be         in addition for low-carbon hydrogen
Given Ireland’s limited alternative         permanently stored in Norway’s vast          production.
options for low-carbon dispatchable         geological reserves in the North Sea.
generation, CCS on gas-fired power          This is known as the ‘Export Option’         4.4 Hydrogen
generation has emerged as a viable          and will be explored further, in parallel    Hydrogen is a carbon free flammable
option.                                     with the indigenous storage option.          gas that can be produced from
                                            Through an export model, Ireland can         renewable electricity and be stored
Globally it is also recognised that there   access CCS solutions with lower risk         indefinitely.
are certain manufacturing industries        and commitment.
that have no solution to decarbonise                                                     Internationally hydrogen is primarily
other than CCS. These include oil           The project has been granted Project         produced for the industrial gas market
refining, cement manufacturing and          of Common Interest (PCI) status in           by separating it from natural gas. It is
incineration, all of which are operating    October 2019 which enables it to apply       anticipated that this process will be
in Ireland and producing significant        for Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)         enhanced by capturing and storing the
emissions.                                  funding. The title of the project is the     resulting carbon dioxide in the short
Gas Networks Ireland                        The future of the gas network                                                    23

to medium term and in the long term         Brownsbarn AGI site with funding              Power to gas
renewable hydrogen production from          from the Gas Innovation Fund. This            Power to gas describes the production
water electrolysis will dominate.           is facility is independent of the gas         of hydrogen by electrolysis, the
                                            network and will use certified blends         chemical decomposition of water into
The EC has recently released a              of natural gas and hydrogen for the           hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen
communication ‘A hydrogen strategy          purposes of assessing the compatibility       produced is classified as green
for a climate-neutral Europe ‘. This        of elements of the distribution network       hydrogen when it is produced by
landmark document sets out the              and appliances typically used in              renewable electricity and carbon does
ambition for hydrogen in Europe             Ireland. The facility will be able to begin   not feature in the production process
and the phases it foresees in its           the process of evaluating aspects             or gas itself. Green hydrogen is the
development. There is recognition           of the network that are particular to         preferred production method in the
that hydrogen is required to achieve        Ireland and provide an opportunity            long term once both the production
full decarbonisation of the energy use      for Gas Networks Ireland staff and            equipment and renewable electricity
and will be needed to decarbonise           stakeholders to gain experience of            sources such as offshore wind scale up
high heat applications in industry          hydrogen blends.                              sufficiently.
and heavy use transport. Hydrogen
is also envisaged as playing a role in      Gas Networks Ireland in conjunction           Renewable electricity developers have
space heating and dispatchable power        with Ervia maintain links with a              engaged with Gas Networks Ireland,
generation. The EC has signalled an         number of Ireland’s leading academic          exploring the potential for hydrogen
intention to put substantial investment     institutions who are conducting               production and this has resulted in
into hydrogen and establish it as a         research into the potential role of           several connection enquiries being
major pillar in a future decarbonised       hydrogen in Ireland. Gas Networks             submitted and responded to. This is a
energy system.                              Ireland is part of the Energy Systems         particularly interesting development
                                            Integration Partnership Programme             in two respects. Firstly, it provides
Research                                    (ESIPP) and works closely with                an early indication of the level of
Gas Networks Ireland is active in a         University College Dublin (UCD) in a          interest there may be from renewable
number of European gas organisations        number of projects including modelling        developers to enter a new green
that are assessing the readiness            how power to gas may interact with            hydrogen production market. Secondly
of existing gas networks to carry           gas network. Gas Networks Ireland             it has encouraged us to start looking
hydrogen and blends of natural gas          are an associate partner in the               into the implications of hydrogen
and hydrogen. There is increasing           GenComm project led by Belfast                producers connecting to the network,
confidence of the ability of the            Metropolitan College and in which             raising questions such as where the
polyethylene distribution networks          the National University of Ireland            appropriate locations for connection
in particular to carry up to 100%           Galway (NUIG) and Viridian are key            are, and the need for storage to ensure
hydrogen. The polyethylene material         participants. This Interreg funded            both gas quality and the available
itself is compatible and experience is      project plans to produce renewable            quantity can be maintained for
being gained through demonstration          hydrogen for supply to buses in Belfast.      customers. Further engagement with
projects on new and existing networks.      Gas Networks Ireland are associate            prospective producers will also result
Work on assessing the compatibility of      partners in the Hydrogen Utilisation          in the development of the technical
steel transmission pipelines in ongoing     and Green Energy (HUGE) project in            requirements and identifying the costs
and there is progress in identifying the    association with NUIG examining the           associated with hydrogen injection.
challenges and mitigations associated       potential role of hydrogen in remote
with transporting hydrogen. The             communities.                                  The EC launched its ‘Strategy for
evaluation of the suitability of the                                                      Energy System Integration’ on 8th
gas network in Ireland will be a major      Gas Networks Ireland are currently            of July 2020. This is one of the most
focus for Gas Networks Ireland in the       working with Hydrogen Ireland                 ambitious and all-encompassing
coming years to establish the suitability   Association which is proposing project        elements of the European ‘Green Deal’
of safely transporting hydrogen and         HyLight – a project focused on the            (refer to Section 9.2.5), providing the
blends of hydrogen.                         production and injection of hydrogen          basis for “the coordinated planning and
                                            to the gas network.                           operation of the energy system as a
Gas Networks Ireland is developing                                                        whole, across multiple energy carriers,
a Hydrogen Innovation Centre at the                                                       infrastructures, and consumption
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