Facilitating renewable gas through the revision to the Renewable Energy Directive
The European Commission will soon launch a legislative proposal on the revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (2009/28/EC). This statement sets out the reasons why renewable gases can play a critical role in the decarbonisation of Europe’s energy mix and then lists specific items that should be included in the revised Renewable Energy Directive (RED II). Together we represent biogas and hydrogen producers, gas infrastructure operators, gas suppliers and vehicle manufacturers.
Renewable gases can be produced through several different processes and can be created using many different sources of energy. Typical examples include biogas made from anaerobic digestion and gasification or green hydrogen produced from renewable electricity. By treating the renewable gas to meet the required specifications, it can be injected into the gas grid, stored easily and delivered directly to the consumer. In 2013, Europe produced approximately 14 mtoe of renewable gas, enough to heat approximately 11 million homes and this production could be at least trebled by 2030. The benefits of renewable gasses are many and include:
We believe that RED II should be prepared bearing in mind the following principles:
The following issues should be addressed within RED II:
1.Facilitate trading of renewable gas
Mass-balancing of renewable gas injected into the gas grid should be facilitated through the introduction of a certification scheme at European level to support the cross-border trading of renewable gases allowing the sustainability verification and proper registration of injected and withdrawn renewable gas volumes.
2.Equal treatment of renewable gases in transport
The promotion of sustainable energy carriers for transport should be equitable. Renewable gases should be rewarded with the same multiple counting towards renewable transport targets that renewable electricity enjoys.
3.Update the list of renewable sources in the Annexes
The list of biogas feedstocks in Annex V of the Renewable Energy Directive (and Annex IV of the Fuel Quality Directive) should be updated with those biogas feedstocks that are currently not included, but can substantially contribute to decarbonisation, such as straw, catch crops, grass and industrial organic waste. The timing is right to explicitly include green hydrogen and its different production pathways. Furthermore, flexibility should be foreseen in the process of updating the annex in future.
4.Maintain gas grid integration measures
The current provisions in Article 16 of RED for access to the gas grid should be maintained. A regulatory framework allowing for the introduction of green hydrogen, biomethane and renewable synthetic natural gas (SNG) should be established. The representatives of the renewable gas producers and grid operators are dedicated to working together at the European level.
5. Provision of supporting environment
The revision of the RED provides an opportunity to explore some additional supporting measures, such as:
6. Consistency with other policy measures.
The revised RED should be consistent with other measures the State Aid Guidelines for Energy and Environment, Fuel Quality Directive, Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive, Waste Framework Directive, Emissions Trading System and also the upcoming reform on energy market design. Supporting research and development programmes are also necessary.
 European Biogas Association. Average household heating requirement assumption of 15,000kWh