Tuesday, 27 April 2021
As previously announced by Greenfact, the EU adopted measures for sustainable finance and taxonomy in late April 2021. The European Biogas Association (EBA) offered a response to the taxonomy on 22 April 2021.
The EBA was generally positive on the adoption of the Taxonomy, particularly with the decision to label biogas from Anaerobic Digestion (AD) as a low-carbon activity. This is despite the fact that AD did not strictly meet the technical screen criteria based upon set targets. Nevertheless, the contribution of biogas production in enabling GHG savings in agriculture and waste management, previously highlighted in the October 2020 Methane Strategy, was recognised.
Furthermore, the regulation also supports the role of biogas and biomethane in renewable heat and power solutions, and the need to integrate 'low-carbon gases' (including biomethane) in existing natural gas grids.
However, the EBA had concerns about the adopted criteria which uses tailpipe approach to measuring carbon emissions which places biomethane at a disadvantage. Processing biomethane can lead to a reduction in methane slip from biomethane feedstock (such as manure), which are not accounted for via tailpipe methodology but can lead to substantial reductions on a life cycle basis.
The EBA specifically noted that the tailpipe approach is "inconsistent with the Taxonomy Regulation (articles 9 and 10)". The need to provide support to biomethane at present was seen as key, particularly in scenarios where electric and hydrogen vehicles are not the most appropriate decarbonising transport solution.
The association also felt that the Taxonomy was too strict on the use of renewable gas in building heating, with little leeway for high efficiency gas appliances and hybrid heat pumps. The EBA saw these solutions as allowing flexibility in addition to addressing security of supply.
It should be noted that there are still some Taxonomy objectives yet to be adopted; the remainder will likely be published in 2022; the EBA is calling for higher transparency with regards to this upcoming batch.
Biomethane GOs can play a key role in highlighting the desirable characteristics of the associated biomethane - increased transparency will improve the uptake of biogas and biomethane as a decarbonisation solution. The EU REGATRACE project, Work package 2 will address reporting requirements for a harmonised EU gas GO system.