Biomethane is the focus of investments and legislation at European level. In order to make the most of this element in the path towards the decarbonisation of transport and logistics, however, stronger policies and long-term certainty are needed: it’s the main takeaway in recent documents by EBA, the European Biogas Association, that contain many interesting points.
Biomethane is one of the elements the RePowerEu strategy identifies to address the climate crisis and reduce the dependence on fossil fuels in the European Union. The goal is to reach 35 bcm of production by 2030: to monitor the path towards this target, the EBA has created an investment observatory about the scale-up of the production and distribution of biomethane.
The first edition of the EBA Outlook reports that a first tranche of €18 billion has been set aside by the industry up to 2030 to ensure the scale-up of biomethane production: 4.1 billion within the next two years and 12.4 in subsequent years. France and Italy are the Member States that have so far planned the largest investments. However, the EBA points out that it is "critical" that the Union and the Member States create "matching policies, stable framework conditions and pathways for long term end-use” of biomethane, so that these investments materialise.
A few days ago, the European Parliament took a step in the direction of these policies and conditions, although EBA “regrets” the lack of an even stronger positive signal. The European Parliament adopted the final agreement on the Regulation on the deployment of Alternative Fuel Infrastructure (AFIR), that is the alternative fuel refuelling and recharging infrastructure across States and the Union.
The regulation recognizes the potential of biomethane to replace fossil fuels for transport and EBA praises this important step. However the Association highlights another point: “EU policy makers missed an opportunity to give a strong positive signal to the biomethane value chain by setting maximum distance-based targets also for the biomethane compatible refuelling infrastructure”, as they did for recharging stations for electric vehicles.
The distribution network is one of the key elements to support the use of LNG in road transport: we know this from direct experience and we’re planning to gradually expand the number of our refueling stations.
We hope that these expectations shared by EBA will become reality: further actions to expand the refueling network and encourage investment in this area would be excellent news.