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G20 special event: The role of biomethane in the energy transition

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

A special event hosted by the Italian G20 on Energy and Climate was held on 15 April 2021, discussing the role of biogas and biomethane in the energy transition.

The meeting was a collaboration with the IEA, GSE (an Italian renewable energy organisation), Eni (multinational oil and gas) and Snam (Italian energy infrastructure). Biogas and derivative biomethane are seen as solutions to addressing organic waste as well as emissions reduction.

The workshop underlined the largely untapped potential of the green gases, particularly in the context that gas and liquid fuels are still expected to account for the majority of energy consumption to 2040. Biomethane was acknowledged as a promising alternative in providing baseload electricity and clean cooking in developing economies. This is in addition to the widely recognised application of biomethane in transport, a sector which is globally responsibly for almost a quarter of emissions from direct fuel combustion.

The development of the biogas industry has additional benefits on top of clean energy and waste management, including job creation, resource efficiency and sustainable farming practices, where by-products from biogas production can improve soil fertility. These additional benefits were seen as key to pushing competitiveness versus low-cost fuels, as biogas production can be costly. The need for new business models and access to financing to achieve scales of economy for these green gases was also covered.

Italy is among leaders in biogas and biomethane development in Europe (which Greenfact have previously commented upon). The Italian Biomethane decree, which came into force in 2018, was highlighted - which gives a minimum income for biomethane production with additional privileges for biomethane from waste feedstock.

The G20 is made up of 19 countries and the European Union. The 19 countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK, and the US. Founded in 1999, the G20 initially focussed upon finance and economic issues, although working groups have formed to cover many issues, including Energy Transition and Climate Sustainability.

Italy currently holds the presidency of the G20. The Leader's summit, the 'main event' of the G20 group, will be held in Rome at the end of October.