New Renewable Energy Directive sets a favourable framework for biogas and biomethane sector

The long awaited European Commission’s proposal for the new Renewable Energy Directive (RED) was published on 30 November as part of the ‘Clean Energy for All Europeans Package’.

With the aim of achieving global leadership in renewable energies, the revised EU target for renewable energy is going to reach at least 27% in the energy consumption by 2030. Biomethane is called to play an important role thanks to the European Commission’s objective to promote sustainable fuels in the transport sector. This is going to be achieved thanks to a general blending obligation to include a minimum share of low carbon emissions fuels equal to 6.8%. A sub-target for advanced biofuels (second generation biofuels) is foreseen and the uptake is expected to follow an annual trajectory towards a total 3.8% share in 2030.

The deployment of biomethane will be eased through new provisions fixing those gas market design gaps which in the previous RED version limited a full exploitation of this product. The extension of the guarantee of origins to the gas sector goes hand-in hand with the introduction of a mass balancing system adapted for injection of biomethane in the gas grids will accelerating its cross-border trading.

The revised RED also strengthens the existing EU criteria for bioenergy sustainability. For the transport sector, a fair harmonisation of the methodology for accounting GHG emission savings of the different biofuels along with a new pathway categorisation (wet manure, maize, biowaste and manure-maize mixture) will allow full recognition of biogas and biomethane climate mitigation features and a fair competition across the different biofuels technologies.

In 2017 the two co-legislators – the European Parliament and the Council – will be busy with the internal discussion of the proposals and potential amendments to the original Commission’s text.

Click here to access the new Renewable Energy Directive and here to see the whole Package.