08 March for immediate release
The European Commission today announced that it will speed up the roll-out of renewable gases in its plan to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels well before 2030, and to respond to rising energy prices. The target for biomethane production by 2030 will increase to 35 billion cubic metres (bcm) (350TWh), in particular from agricultural waste and residues. The Renewable Gas Forum Ireland (RGFI), as board members of the European Biogas Association (EBA), have been lobbying for an increased ambition across Europe for many years, with intensified talks with EC and national governments in recent months.
Welcoming the announcement, RGFI CEO PJ McCarthy commented, “This major shift in policy at European level will resonate across member states. Ireland lags well behind the rest of Europe in producing biomethane and action is urgently required in terms of capital grants to build AD plants and introducing a renewable heat obligation scheme as a fair and stable means to socialise costs and accelerate the deployment of AD biomethane to address security of supply and energy prices.“
The measures in the REPowerEU plan, could gradually remove at least 155 bcm of fossil gas use, which is equivalent to the volume imported from Russia in 2021. The Commission proposes to work with Member States to identify the most suitable projects to meet these objectives.
The RGFI promotes a scalable, agri-feedstock based model of AD biomethane production to decarbonise thermal processes in the food industry while also supporting farmers, the environment and the circular bioeconomy. The Forum has already presented the business case for biomethane to Government. Teagasc Grange is set to become a centre of excellence for biomethane production and regenerative agriculture and importantly their research has already shown how biomethane production will not compete for feedstock with food production. Anaerobic digestion technology is a complementary discipline, supports additional diverse incomes, sustainable farming and long term business planning.
Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans said: “It is time we tackle our vulnerabilities and rapidly become more independent in our energy choices. Let’s dash into renewable energy at lightning speed. Renewables are a cheap, clean, and potentially endless source of energy and instead of funding the fossil fuel industry elsewhere, they create jobs here.”
Harmen Dekker, EBA CEO, said “ We will have no problems in delivering sustainable biomethane to the quantities required and this is only 1/3 of the total potential in Europe”
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