Biomethane is a gaseous energy vector with a distribution system (the natural gas grid) in place. Biomethane may be produced through thermal gasification of Willow and may be used as a source of renewable heat. Two scales were assessed: a 50 MWth facility based on indigenous Willow and a 300 MWth facility based at an international port importing wood chip. The model suggested that eleven 50 MWth gasifiers, each requiring 6800 ha of Willow, in a rural environment, with gas grid injection to the distribution grid, would satisfy the shortfall in the 2020 target for renewable energy supply in the heat market in Ireland. Alternatively two number 300 MWth facilities each requiring importation of 1,000,000 t/yr of wood chip, situated adjacent to an international port would satisfy the shortfall. This is seen as less attractive as the feed stock is not indigenous and in times of austerity does not facilitate local rural employment. The capital cost of the facilities for both scales is less than that required to provide the same quantity of renewable heat through domestic wood pellet boilers in domiciles. (c) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.