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Energy

Biomethane

Biomethane is the purified form of raw biogas and can be used as a natural gas substitute. It is one of the main renewable gases of the future and available today to decarbonise the EU's energy system.

Biomethane can play an important role to achieve the REPowerEU plan’s objectives of diversified gas supplies and reduce the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels, while simultaneously reducing exposure to volatile natural gas prices. As a renewable and dispatchable energy source, scaling up the production and use of biomethane also helps to address the climate crisis. For these reasons, biomethane production needs to reach 35 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year by 2030.

To achieve this ambitious target, the Commission presented in May 2022 a Staff Working Document accompanying the REPowerEU plan that includes a number of possible actions to unlock the potential of biogas and biomethane across all EU countries. The proposed actions aim at supporting production to a sustainable potential volume of biogas to further upgrade it to biomethane and to direct biomethane production from waste and residues, avoiding the use of food and feed feedstocks leading to land use change issues. These actions should also create the preconditions for sustainable upgrading and safe injection of biomethane into the gas grid.

By 2024, EU countries have to collect separately organic waste, which will be an opportunity to upscale the production of sustainable biomethane and create income opportunities for farmers and foresters.

Achieving the biomethane targets

In order to achieve the biomethane targets set in the REPowerEU plan, one of the key proposed actions is the creation of a biogas and biomethane industrial partnership to promote the sustainable production and use of biomethane.

The Biomethane Industrial Partnership (BIP) was launched on 28 September 2022. Its objective is to support the achievement of the EU target of 35 bcm annual production and use of sustainable biomethane by 2030 and to create the preconditions for a further ramp-up of its potential towards 2050. The BIP will promote participatory multi-stakeholder engagement between the Commission, EU countries, industry representatives, feedstock producers, academia and NGOs. The Commission will work closely with EU countries to support them in their development of national strategies on biomethane production and to promote cooperation on biomethane with neighbouring and accession countries, including Ukraine.

The Commission will consider broadening the scope of the fuel supply obligation in the Renewable Energy Directive to cover all uses of biomethane. The Commission's recommendation on permitting should also facilitate new biogas and biomethane investments. Incentives for biogas upgrading into biomethane would help reducing the costs linked to biomethane production for individual economic operators.

Another proposed action includes the assessment of challenges, bottlenecks and other possible measures from the infrastructure perspective for a cost-efficient deployment of biomethane. Moreover, national authorities, TSOs and DSOs should assess potential investment challenges to increase the uptake of biomethane and connect decentralised production sites with consumption centres over large distances.

Innovation and financing

The uptake of biomethane involves a continued support to innovative technologies for the production of sustainable biomethane, upgrade of biogas to biomethane and its integration within the gas network. This will include streamlining existing funds and funding mechanisms such as common agriculture policy, structural and cohesion funds, national resilience and recovery plans, Horizon Europe or the innovation fund and the modernisation fund, LIFE funding and other national funding opportunities.

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