Austria amended its renewable energy act – relevance for the biogas sector

After a long time of negotiations Austria amended its renewable energy act called “Ökostromgesetz”, at the end of June.

This article provides a brief summary of relevant points for biogas, which are:

From the beginning of 2018 new plants will receive feed in tariffs if using maximum 30 % of corn and other cereals as feedstock. There are then two options. First, plants with a size lower than 150 kWel and an efficiency above 67,5 % can produce the electricity directly at the plant. Second, plants above 150 kWel shall inject upgraded biogas into the gas grid and convert it in high efficient CHP to electricity and heat. The contingent is limited with €1 million per year.

For existing plants a post feed-in regulation is included. About 2/3 of most efficient plants should receive a post feed-in tariff for during the first three years. The selection will be done on two criteria: full-load hours from 2010 to 2016 and plant efficiency of 2016. They shall use at maximum 60 % of corn and other cereals as feedstock and the plants shall install a remote control. After three years of post feed-in tariff, there is the possibility for one more extension if feedstocks from corn and cereals are less than 30 % and if CHP directly at the plant is less than 150 kWel. Combined with an efficiency above 67,5 %, biomethane is injected into the gas grid and CHP is done within high efficiency.

With this amendment legislators set clear rules where biogas technique is needed in future time. Only high efficient plants with very low feedstock coming from corn and cereals are wanted anymore. The distinction between small CHP application directly at the plant and gas grid injection for bigger plants the legislator owed coming trends where PV, small hydro power and wind will produce more than needed electricity during summer time far too less during winter time. Therefore electricity from biogas shall be more and more used receiving energy security by renewables. This can be done perfectly through biomethane storage within gas grid and application in big CHP installations when other renewables cannot secure security of supply.