Gas Networks Ireland - an arm of the semi state body Ervia that owns and maintains the gas network here - is unveiling a plan today that it says will reduce Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30% by 2050.

It also aims to create a net zero carbon gas network.

It is planning to do this via two main methods. 

It says by 2050, half of the gas on the network will be renewable gas and hydrogen.

The other half will come from what is known as as 'abated gas', where the carbon dioxide has essentially been stripped out through a process called Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).

Denis O'Sullivan, Managing Director of Gas Networks Ireland, said steps had already been taken in this direction.

"We've set out four strands in which to reduce the carbon footprint from the gas network. We've already introduced CNG (compressed natural gas) in transport and we've injected the first renewable gas into the network this year."

"We've also signed a memorandum of understanding with Equinor to investigate carbon capture and storage, which is the technology we see removing the carbon emissions from electricity."

Denis O'Sullivan explained that renewable gas would be sourced predominantly from the agriculture sector.

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"Agriculture is the biggest industry in the economy. The herd produces large volumes of slurry every year which can be combined with other sources to produce renewable gas through a process of anaerobic digestion."

There would be something of a double benefit in utilising this source, he said, given that the agriculture sector is often pinpointed as a major source of carbon emissions.

In terms of the cost, Denis O'Sullivan said there would be an initial capital cost in establishing the infrastructure to decarbonise the gas supply.

In terms of the cost to the consumer for their energy prices, he said it would be minimal.