Biogas: a necessary solution to foster EU’s energy transition

Achieving EU ambitious target of 55% CO2 emission reductions by 2030 will require fundamental changes to the energy sector. It is of paramount importance to promote all sustainable fuels and their infrastructure. Biogas is a flexible and reliable renewable energy carrier, an enabler of significant CO2 emissions reductions and carbon removals.

On June 11, Bioenergy Europe released its 2021 Statistical Report Biogas in collaboration with the European Biogas Association (EBA). The report dives into the recent trends of consumption and production of biogas in Europe. Its accompanying Policy Brief presents the most relevant recommendations to promote the biogas sector as key player in EU’s energy transition.

The biogas market grew steadily in the last years with a growth rate of 2% between 2018 and 2019. However, according to the most recent data the EU still heavily relies on fossil gas. Latest trends show a persistent increase of use of natural gas since 2014. In 2019 natural gas was 23 times the amount of biogas used.

These findings urge for a radical shift in policy design and investments to promote the penetration of renewables alternatives such as biogas and biomethane offering a stable and viable substitute to fossil fuels.

Biogas is a versatile renewable fuel used mainly for electricity generation (57%) but has been proven to be a very effective solution also for heat generation. Furthermore, when upgraded to biomethane, it can also be injected into the existing gas grid or used as a renewable fuel to support the decarbonisation of the transport sector, heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

Compared to EU fossil fuels, biogas can save up to 240% of GHG emissions and biomethane up to 202% because powerful greenhouse gases, such as methane, that would have been emitted through uncontrolled fermentation of organic waste and agricultural residues are eliminated. Waste and agriculture are the two most important sources of methane emissions today. The use of biogas limits dependency on mineral-based fertilisers while increasing material efficiency. More should be done to promote biogas’ consumption complementing renewable electricity and recognize these saved emissions.

In view of the upcoming Fit for 55 packages, biogas should be recognized for its benefits as key player in the transition to low-carbon economy and an efficient circular economy. This includes the promotion of the production, market uptake, and system integration of biogas, with binding 2030 EU targets on demand for renewable gases of at least 11% in terms of the energy content of the fossil gas.

Statement by Jean-Marc Jossart, Secretary General – Bioenergy Europe: “Today more than ever it is time to capitalize on the current post-COVID recovery phase to promote a stable policy framework and secure investments to recognize the role of biogas as a fully-fledged solution in the EU energy system. Fossil gas, while growing significantly in the last years and probably in the coming years, is inconveniently NOT 2050 compatible. Therefore, special efforts to significantly increase the use of biogas and biomethane are of upmost importance”.

Statement by Susanna Pflüger, Secretary General – European Biogas Association: “Biogas is part of the solution to achieve climate-neutrality by 2050 in a swift and cost-competitive way. The development of a balanced renewable energy mix will be instrumental in our efforts to decarbonise the EU economy and drive the shift to circularity. The upcoming Fit for 55 legislations should embrace this approach and ensure relevant policy support for all renewable alternatives”.

More information here.