Joint EBA workshop – “R-Gas” in the Renewable Energy Directive revision

The “R-Gas” workshop was held in Brussels on the 13th of June 2017. EBA and 8 other gaseous energy organisations organised it on the occasion of the publication of a joint statement about the Renewable Energy Directive recast (RED II). Participants discussed the importance of the renewable gas sector in Europe.

Mr Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Secretary General of Hydrogen Europe, opened the workshop by highlighting that European energy policies should focus more on the great potential and diversity of renewable gas solutions and  RED II is a step forward in recognising it.

EBA part of the expert panel on renewable gas

Mr Nils Aldas, Energy Chair of Hydrogen Europe, pointed out that the transition to renewable energy is focusing largely on electricity. He pointed out that Germany is lacking renewable solutions for oil and gas sectors.

Mr Jan Stambasky, President of EBA, underlined the advantages of biomethane. Giving the existing gas infrastructure, it can benefit from high storage capacity, and there are affordable applications already known by the final consumer. According to Mr Stambasky, European policies should include Guarantees of Origins, with information to be extended to maximise trading potential and visibility of green value. Ambitious and realistic sustainability criteria are also required, as well as the need to recognize the contribution of biomethane to circular economy, and to give it a priority access to gas grids.

Readiness to a flexible handling of the gas infrastructure was confirmed by Piotr Kus, representative of Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE). The gas network can easily compensate intermittencies of other renewable sources. Biogas and power-to-gas are efficient solutions, and we should invest in infrastructure and transmission capacities.

Guillaume Virmaux, Head of EU Affairs at GrDF, revealed that there was an increase of 162% of biomethane injected in France in 2016 compared to 2015, making the company confident about the achievement of the 10% target of green gas on the total gas production in 2030. Many other European countries have experienced a significant growth. Mr Virmaux pointed out that in RED II, the definition of renewable gas is not clear enough, which could result in creating legal uncertainty hindering the already good growth results achieved across EU countries.

Professor Frank Scholwin, from the Institute of Biogas, Waste Management and Energy, reminded that the good coverage provided by the gas infrastructure already in place can be used for cross-border trading of renewable gas. Furthermore, citizens must be more aware of the benefits of biomethane, and therefore biogas information campaigns like Biogas for You should be developed.

Green reality of green washing?

Jérémie Zeitoun, MEP Assistant to Claude Turmes at the European Parliament, and Tudor Constantinescu, Principal advisor to the Director General of DG Energy of the European Commission, responded to the panel. The first underlined that energy efficiency is key for Europe’s future, but the development of sustainable green gas is essential to reduce fossil fuel consumption and related GHG emissions. The second welcomed the R-Gas initiative, which witnesses the maturity of the renewable gas technology, indispensable to achieve the EU climate and energy goals.

Finally, Gert de Block, Secretary General of CEDEC, concluded the workshop reminding everybody that if we want to make the EU number one of renewable gas, we should rely on our success stories and work together to integrate all the promising technologies in the EU legal framework.