Demand for biomethane on the rise – German Energy Agency
Clean Energy Wire
The use of renewable biomethane is on the rise, resulting in increasing confidence in the future of the sector, according to the German Energy Agency (dena). Biomethane sales grew nearly 5.5 percent between 2019 and 2020 to 10,269 gigawatt-hours (GWh), surpassing the 10-terawatt-hour mark for the first time, the agency reports in its Biomethane Industry Barometer 2021. “The recovery in retail prices and good prospects in all markets offer reasons for optimism,” it noted, adding that regulatory changes have led to a wide range of development opportunities. Dena asked some 50 biomethane industry companies about developments, opportunities and challenges as part of its report. "The results of the Biomethane Industry Barometer show that biomethane is becoming more attractive as a renewable energy source that can be used at short notice for all sectors,” said dena CEO Andreas Kuhlmann. Companies nevertheless need reliable and implementable framework conditions for the increased use of liquid manure and residues, he added, noting that the latest draft of the Biomass Electricity Sustainability Ordinance requires “evidence of extended sustainability.” For many companies, that is not possible in a short period of time and such requirements would also increase the costs of biomethane, he added.
The industry sees good prospects for use in the fuel sector, however. In particular, the requirements of the EU's renewable energy directive (RED II) and the Federal Immission Control Act’s new rules on the GHG quota have spurred the use of biomethane in the fuel market, dena stated. In 2020, sales at filling stations reached one terawatt hour, compared to 733 GWh in 2019, ensuring positive competitive conditions. “Almost all compressed natural gas filling stations have now switched to biomethane, which means that a further increase in sales can be expected in 2021,” dena added, noting that the industry was also benefitting from the CO2 levy on fossil fuels, which came into force this year.