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Biogas. Renewables at 21 billion m3, 6% of EU natural gas consumption

Biomethane production alone grew by 20% more than in 2022

Work continues today in Rome on the new edition of Biogas Italy, the event of the Italian Biogas Consortium (Cib) dedicated to the agricultural biogas supply chain (read EFA News ). Companies in the sector, Italian and European institutions and agricultural associations were present to take stock of the future scenarios outlined with the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Pnrr), the trajectories indicated by the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (Pniec) to achieve the production objectives for 2030. The 26 sponsoring companies and partners of the edition who animated the Sponsor Area of the Salone delle Fontane were present.

The initiative, now in its eighth edition, has become over the years a point of reference for the biogas supply chain and a moment of in-depth analysis and important discussion on the future scenarios of the sector.

yesterday's news saw the opening speech of the president Piero Gattoni who underlined the objectives of the two days: "Today we open a very important edition of Biogas Italy, which is part of a year full of challenges for the sector, in which we wanted to underline the commitment of the biogas supply chain towards carbon negative agriculture, building a new trajectory for the country's energy and climate transition. This is the challenge that Cib feels we can support: organic fertilization, agriculture 4.0, new agricultural practices for soil protection, production of renewable energy. A model that in recent years we have also included in the Farming for Future project and which represents the possible way to achieve the decarbonisation objectives".

Particular attention to Europe and the 2030 development framework envisaged by REPowerEu. The European data for the sector are encouraging: in fact, in Europe renewable gases (biogas and biomethane) amount to 21 billion cubic metres, representing 6% of the EU's natural gas consumption. Biomethane production alone grew by 20% more than in 2022. Speaking in the room, Anders Mathiasson , President of the European Biogas Association (Eba), explained how Europe has everything it takes to reach the objective of 35 billion cubic meters of biomethane by 2030. On this point, in connection from Strasbourg, the European parliamentarians Paolo De Castro , Massimiliano Salini , Carlo Fidanza and Marco Zanni highlighted the future challenges that the primary sector will have to face after the next European elections in June, also in light of the recent tensions that have crossed European countries against the Commission's green policies, and the potential of agriculture for the ecological transition.

Francesco Corvaro , Special Envoy for Climate Change, also spoke during the morning to discuss the interconnection between agriculture and climate change, highlighting the positive role of the primary sector in mitigating its effects.

The work continued in the afternoon with a focus on the Italian biogas and biomethane market with the interventions of Giovanni Perrella of the Mase Energy Department, Franco Cotana , CEO of RSE and Federico Mandolini , Competitive Procedures and Pnrr Calls Function - Renewable Sources Directorate of the GSE who underlined the results achieved with the 2018 biomethane decree and the prospects of the sector for the end of the year (with a production potential of 1.1 billion smc of biomethane) without neglecting the potential dictated by the Pnrr, waiting to know the results of the competitive procedure opened in December, a real test which saw in the first three procedures a potential of plants that submitted applications amounting to another 650 million Smc, also thanks to the recent intervention which adjusted the tariffs to inflation.

The current scenario confirms the positive role of biomethane and indicates the agricultural sector as the largest potential contributor: the full deployment of biogas represents more than 10% of the gas component in medium-term trend scenarios. According to the latest data, there are approximately 1,803 biogas plants with a production of 2 and a half billion cubic meters of renewable gas intended mainly for renewable electricity and thermal production and for a minority share, equal to approximately 600 million cubic metres, released for consumption as biomethane in the transport sector. But it is for the future that the sector sees its objectives as even more ambitious. And this also includes the projection indicated in the proposal to update the Pniec which sees a production of approximately 6 billion cubic meters of biomethane over the next six years.

Subsequently, Gervasio Ciaccia from Arera, Nicola Battilana from Snam and Lorenzo Romeo from Italgas also spoke in a debate on the importance of having an infrastructure network that can allow the distribution of biomethane.

The Minister of the Environment and Energy Security Gilberto Pichetto Fratin also took part in the work of the first day of the CIB appointment and announced from the stage of Biogas Italy the signing of the decree on agroecological measures: "An important intervention aimed at modernization and the efficiency of the agricultural system thanks to the possibility of purchasing new biomethane tractors and a series of interventions that I am sure will facilitate the modernization of the sector. A greater stimulus to the transition path of agricultural companies".

President Gattoni added: “We are in a crucial phase for the development of the biogas and biomethane sector, in Italy and Europe. This year we will get to the heart of implementing the Pnrr measures with the start of the first construction sites and investments. The news of the signing of the decree on agroecological measures is a significant step towards sustainable agricultural systems, respectful of ecosystems and with zero climate impact. At the same time, however, it is necessary to intervene to urgently define the value of the minimum guaranteed prices for biogas plants. We cannot wait any longer: Arera's delay is risking blocking the supply chain, creating even more uncertainty, undermining the stability of our businesses. Starting from this framework, it will be necessary to work during the year to immediately prepare the rules that will allow the development of the 'post PNRR' sector and the trajectories of the next five years, also in light of the scenarios that will open up after the European vote of June which could lead to a new pact between agriculture and industry. A defined system that will allow us to look to the future with greater certainty."

At the end also the agricultural associations: Cristiano Fini , President Cia and Massimiliano Giansanti , president of Confagricoltura, relaunched from the stage the next challenges of agriculture, among the requests for a fairer agricultural policy that balances quality production and environmental protection .

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EFA News - European Food Agency