Russia-Ukraine conflict underlines strategic importance of European and Irish Biomethane
In the context of the sad events unfolding in Ukraine, the European Biogas Association (EBA) and Renewable Gas Forum Ireland (RGFI) said Europe’s reliance on natural gas from Russia means it is now more urgent than ever that we scale up the production of biomethane.
Biomethane produced in Europe is now cheaper than natural gas, the EBA CEO, Harmen Dekker, said in Dublin – at the Associations first board meeting to be held in Ireland. RGFI CEO, PJ McCarthy is a Board member of EBA and said the Board visit to Ireland was prompted by the pending announcement on the Government’s Renewable Heat Obligation (RHO) scheme, which will be a game changer in developing the biomethane sector in Ireland.
“The deployment of biomethane made in Europe can help stabilise the current natural gas price increase related to disruptions of supply. There is an urgent need to reduce reliance on external gas suppliers, as the EU produces today less than 15% of its gas demand. The current conflict between Russia, Europe’s biggest gas supplier, and Ukraine could exacerbate the crisis due to a shortage of gas supplies” said PJ McCarthy this week.
The EU is at the forefront of the low carbon agenda setting the global pace and with the ‘Fit for 55’ package it has provided the regulatory context to move forward. The European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, has stressed the need to “move away from fossil gas and bring in renewable and low carbon gases, such as biomethane.”
The EU has said its gas use must drop 25% by 2030, from 2015 levels, to meet climate goals and that a shift to locally produced renewable energy is its long-term defence against supply issues and the volatile price of imported fossil fuels. EBA and RGFI say that while other renewable gases, such as green hydrogen, need time to scale up and are still two-to-four times more expensive, biomethane is available and scalable within the coming decades.
The rapid scale-up of biomethane across Europe could provide at least 35 billion cubic metres (350 TWh) of renewable gas by 2030 if underpinned by supportive legislative framework. This represents around 10% of total EU gas demand by 2050. This potential is reflected in many reports from different sources, including the European Commission. The EBA believes, if the growth trend continues, the biomethane industry could cover 30-40% of the EU gas demand by 2050.
The Renewable Gas Forum Ireland (RGFI) is a member organisation which advocates for the renewable gas industry. Its membership includes scientists; AD developers and operators (farmers); community organisations, shippers and industrial gas consumers in the food and transport sectors.
RGFI aims to work with government and decision makers on a consultative and constructive basis, with the aim of establishing suitable market conditions to enable the growth of an indigenous, biomethane industry, which will also bring complementary benefits, aligned to the European Green Deal. It is a member of the European Biogas Association (EBA) which represents European farmers, academics, and AD developers and operators.
Renewable gas biomethane is produced when biodegradable (organic) materials, such as slurry and crop residues, are broken down in an anaerobic (oxygen free) environment, such as in an anaerobic digester.
3 March 2022