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Tesco becomes the first Irish retailer to purchase renewable gas made from its own surplus food to power stores

Tesco Ireland to partner with Kildare-based Green Generation to reduce its carbon emissions through sustainability innovation  

Tesco Ireland will reduce its carbon emissions by 1,200 tonnes per annum through its partnership with Green Generation on a renewable gas initiative facilitated by Gas Networks Ireland. The move, involving changes to its food management process at retail store level, will see enough renewable gas created from Tesco’s food surplus to power six of its stores in Ireland.

As the first, and only, retailer in Ireland to publish independently assured food waste data, Tesco has successfully achieved zero food waste to landfill since 2009. As part of the new initiative, Green Generation will process Tesco’s remaining food surplus, which has not been donated to FoodCloud, Tesco’s surplus food charity partner since 2014, or given free of charge to colleagues, at its anaerobic-digestion plant in Nurney, significantly reducing the retailer’s operational carbon emissions.  Fed into the gas network at nearby Cush, Co. Kildare, Tesco will now purchase the renewable gas outputs from the facility via Naturgy, the energy supplier, taking a circular economy approach to minimising its carbon footprint.

Gas Networks Ireland and Tesco Ireland are proud signatories of Business in the Community Ireland’s Low Carbon Pledge, a commitment towards decarbonisation. Launching the initiative to mark World Environment Day (5th June), Kari Daniels, CEO, Tesco Ireland said, “This new partnership with Green Generation aligns with our Little Helps Sustainability plan which guides us in tackling climate change and food waste and allows us to support indigenous and creative solutions to the increasing challenges faced by society as a result. This new initiative will help us in our ambition to become a zero-carbon retailer by 2050, as we work together to support national and international climate action.”

Renewable gas, sometimes referred to as biomethane, is a clean, renewable and carbon neutral fuel. Its potential as a renewable fuel for transport, heat and electricity as part of the transition to a low carbon economy, is well-recognised.  

The dedicated renewable gas entry point in Cush became fully operational in May and joined Corrib and Kinsale as the three indigenous gas sources on Ireland’s network. Once flowing at maximum capacity, Cush can supply renewable gas to approximately 11,000 homes. Green Generation, the company producing the carbon neutral gas, invested €2.5m in the Nurney facility. 

Green Generation’s Billy Costello said he was proud to be working with Tesco, and a host of other Irish companies, including Diageo, to deliver renewable gas to Ireland’s gas network.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of developing a new green energy in partnership with Gas Networks Ireland and are delighted to reach this milestone and see renewable gas flowing on Ireland’s gas network,” Mr Costello said.

“We have been generating energy from waste for a number of years and know that renewable gas can not only solve our energy issues, but it can also help deliver a truly sustainable circular economy, by harnessing food and animal waste to deliver clean energy.

Gas Networks Ireland invested €1.7m in the Cush injection point and is planning to develop larger renewable gas entry points across Ireland in the coming years.

Gas Networks Ireland Managing Director, Denis O’Sullivan, said Ireland’s challenge is to decarbonise in the most efficient way possible and that renewable gas, facilities like that in Cush and partnerships with companies of the calibre of Tesco and Diageo, are key to delivering on a cleaner energy future.

 “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. We are delighted to facilitate Tesco and Diageo in embracing this technology both as a supplier of waste and a user of clean energy,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“Cush is Ireland’s first dedicated renewable gas entry point and it now joins Corrib and Kinsale as being an indigenous fuel supply point. Natural gas currently represents 30% of the country's primary energy mix and powers on average approximately 50% of Ireland’s electricity generation.

“Substituting renewable gas for natural gas is seamless and it’s one of the ways Gas Networks Ireland can reduce Ireland’s total CO2 emissions across key sectors including electricity, industry, heat, transport and agriculture.”

ENDS

For Notes to Editors

About Renewable Gas

Renewable gas, sometimes referred to as biomethane, is a clean, renewable and carbon neutral fuel. Its potential as a renewable fuel for transport, heat and electricity is well-recognised in the EU’s commitment to becoming a highly energy-efficient, low carbon economy.   

Renewable gas is a carbon neutral energy source which is used in the same way as natural gas.  Renewable gas is produced using a process called Anaerobic Digestion.  Food waste or other waste products are broken down using bacteria, creating a renewable gas and a nutrient rich fertilizer which can then be used on local farms, reducing their need for chemicals.  Renewable gas is carbon neutral, meaning

Countries such as France and Germany have taken a lead in the roll out of renewable gas, however the EU Commission has identified Ireland as being the country with the greatest potential for developing this clean energy per capita. 

About Tesco Ireland

1,200 carbon emissions savings calculated based on Tesco Ireland 2019 food waste figures. Tesco was supported on this initiative by Vision Green and Halston consultants.

About Gas Networks Ireland

Gas Networks Ireland owns, operates, builds and maintains the €2.6 billion network that ensures the safe and reliable delivery of gas to over 700,000 Irish customers, including businesses, households and power stations.

The 14,390km interconnected network is of key strategic importance to Ireland’s economy and security of energy supply. It delivers 30% of the country's primary energy needs and is the backbone of the electricity sector, providing circa on average 50% of reliable, on-demand power generation.

About Green Generation

Green Generation Limited is an Irish company which was established to develop a farm-based Anaerobic Digestion (AD) facility. It is located in a rural location in Nurney, County Kildare adjacent to a connected pig farm.  Green Generation has experience since 2005 in the operation of such facilities and successfully manage two plants in Germany and two in the UK.

Green Generation uses an innovative anaerobic-digestion system based on microorganisms that break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen to produce Biogas. Green Generation then uses biogas to generate heat which is used in its plant in Nurney to create renewable energy in the form of green electricity and renewable gas (biomethane) which are sold back into the grid.