SEDIGAS Urges Spain to Pursue Renewable Gas for Transportation

| Spain: Barcelona | Source: SEDIGAS
Guadalajara Sewage Treatment Plant

Guadalajara Sewage Treatment Plant produces RNG.

SEDIGAS, the Spanish Gas Association, is advocating for the adoption of national policies that reinforce the role of renewable natural gas (RNG) as a CO2 sink and part of the circular economy. Not only would RNG enhance the 2030-2050 National Energy and Climate Plan, it argues, it has a major role to play in decarbonising transportation.

Renewable gas needs support to be able to contribute all its potential contribution to the decarbonisation and the achievement of the renewable energy participation objectives. For this, it is essential to define measures for 2030 and 2050 that allow the creation of an adequate ecosystem to develop renewable gas, encourage its production, mobilize the necessary financial resources and facilitate the achievement of production objectives.

In order to deepen decarbonisation, the future 2030-2050 National Energy and Climate Plan should also reinforce the role of renewable gas as a CO2 sink and part of the circular economy in the energy matrix, and include its relevant condition as a warehouse of surplus electricity from renewable sources, through the infrastructures of the gas sector. This allows storage to all temporal horizons: short, medium and long term.

Renewable gas needs a national state policy

Unlike other EU countries (Germany, France, Sweden), renewable gas is still in its infancy in Spain. Therefore, to develop renewable gas requires setting a state policy that establishes coherent objectives with Europe accompanied by an appropriate regulatory framework to facilitate its achievement, in the same way as it has happened with renewable electric power.

Among the aspects to be defined are:

  • the regulation to be able to inject biomethane into transport and distribution networks, aligning the quality to the maximum with the European standard;
  • the development and technological research through financial support from the administration; and
  • the strengthening of fiscal aspects and aid mechanisms, among which are the Certificates of Guarantee of Green Origin (CdO).

Renewable gas potential

Biomethane is a renewable gas that is obtained from waste and biomass and that, once treated, has the same qualities as natural gas and is directly injectable to the gas pipeline network or suitable to be used as fuel in the automotive industry. Biomethane has the potential to reach at least 64% of the current demand for domestic / commercial natural gas. Adding in other renewable gases such as hydrogen raises that potential to 66%.

Regarding the economic activity generated by biomethane, it has a high potential for technological development at the national level as well as a very significant growth in the medium term, according to the data of a technical study carried out by Sedigas together with the Creara consultancy.

According to this same report, biomethane activity could create a total employment by 2030 of between 15,000 and 25,000 jobs, which include both direct jobs as indirect;  the latter caused by the dragging effect of technology to the services sector.

In addition, biomethane is key in the fight against climate change. For each bcm of biomethane recovered from the biodegradation of organic matter and injected into the network, the emission to the atmosphere of about 20 Mt of CO2eq would be avoided, which would be equivalent to 33% of the CO2 reduction target of the diffuse sectors.

Renewable gas in mobility

Gas is a clean, efficient and safe solution to achieve a sustainable transport system, also in urban mobility.

Biomethane is a renewable fuel that can be injected directly into the network of gas pipelines for utilisation as a fuel for transportation. It is an available fuel, as evidenced by the EU Infrastructure Study 2050, which recognizes that there is a potential for different renewable gases to provide a significant part of the European mobility of the future.

In this way, it is essential that the Spanish regulatory framework recognize the role of non-electric renewables, and specifically of renewable gas, in order to achieve decarbonization objectives.

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