France is on observe to exceed its biomethane targets –


Renewable gases are gaining floor in Europe, with France on observe to exceed its 2023 intermediate aims for biomethane injection into the grid. To meet up with the business, EURACTIV France spoke to Laurence Poirier-Dietz, director common of GRDF, Europe’s largest gasoline distributor. 

On 21 October, France offered its new “Inexperienced France Nation” plan to double the discount of carbon emissions over the following 5 years (2022-2027).

However “for this to occur, it’s essential to have a balanced vitality combine” combining gasoline and electrical energy, Laurence Poirier-Dietz advised EURACTIV France.

With the winter heating season coming, gasoline consumption is ready to exceed electrical energy consumption – by “round 120-140 GW of gasoline versus 85-95 GW of electrical energy,” she says.

And people winter heating peaks are anticipated to stay within the coming years, she factors out, saying this requires a decarbonisation of gasoline provide.

The European Union goals to realize 100% renewable gasoline within the grid by 2050, with a 20% middleman goal by 2030. France, in the meantime, is charging forward with its personal goal of injecting 6 TWh of biomethane into the grid in 2023.

Over the previous two quarters, the business injected over 1.5 TWh of biomethane within the gasoline grid, placing France on observe to exceed its 2023 goal.

For Laurence Poirier-Dietz, this implies the French goal might be extra formidable. “With 500 biogas vegetation injecting instantly into the gasoline community, we’ve got an actual head begin,” she stated.

“In France, the manufacturing of inexperienced gasoline already represents greater than the ability of a nuclear reactor and we can make up for Russian gasoline imports by 2027-2028,” she predicts.

“And possibly at some point we are going to even be capable of export from decentralised manufacturing,” she provides.

On the EU facet, nevertheless, the aims couldn’t be extra formidable, she argued, saying the bloc’s largest vitality customers – Italy, Spain, and Germany – are lagging behind in constructing new anaerobic digestors.

Europe rediscovers biogas in seek for vitality independence

The conflict in Ukraine has given renewable gasoline a brand new impetus, with the European Fee proposing to ramp up biomethane manufacturing to 35 billion cubic metres (bcm) by 2030, up from 3 bcm in 2020. In Europe, France has taken the lead, studies.

Methane leaks

In the meantime, the EU gasoline business is questioning the European Fee’s proposed regulation on decreasing methane emissions from the sector, decrying what they describe as “one-size-fits-all” measures.

“The Fee is proposing single standards for your entire chain, from producer to distributor,” stated Laurence Poirier-Dietz.

For instance, Brussels needs to impose common checks for leaks in your entire gasoline community – as soon as each three months – though “some areas don’t require such common checks”.

“Systematising the checks will solely enhance the prices handed on within the sale costs, with out growing the extent of security or successfully decreasing emissions,” she warned.

In line with her, European measures should be tailored to the completely different infrastructures, with gasoline distributors like GRDF calling for extra flexibility within the EU’s method.

Requested why the European Fee has not adopted a extra versatile method to methane checks, Poirier-Dietz replied: “As a result of the Fee needs to impose a strict imaginative and prescient.”

“In actuality, Brussels has little information of the gasoline community working system, which could be very technical, and even much less of the distribution half, which is native,” Poirier-Dietz stated.

“We’re the final hyperlink within the chain, the furthest from Brussels,” she defined.

Going native

In line with Poirier-Dietz, native vitality manufacturing is the best way ahead within the vitality transition.

It “will likely be extra bottom-up, with backflow techniques that can permit regionally produced inexperienced gasoline to transit from distribution to move, which can then ship it to a different demand space, or storage”, she stated, describing a system already in place in a number of areas in France.

Poirier-Dietz even hopes that “at some point we are going to even be capable of export from decentralised manufacturing” – an possibility that the Fee is critically contemplating in its legislative bundle on gasoline.

For this to occur, native elected officers should nevertheless comply with the set up of manufacturing infrastructures on their territory, which has not at all times proved a straightforward process in France, with some villagers opposing the development of recent large anaerobic digestors.

The GRDF director pointed to the advantages of biomethane for the native financial system, with greater than 50,000 jobs anticipated in 2030 for the biogas sector, up from about 6,000 immediately.

In addition to biomethane, native authorities in France might additionally profit from hydrogen manufacturing and distribution, Poirier-Dietz stated, noting that “98% of the pipelines within the gasoline distribution community are prepared for hydrogen”.

“We are going to most likely additionally want purely hydrogen pipelines for industrial companies,” she stated.

One other avenue can also be being studied: the injection of artificial methane produced by recombining hydrogen and CO2, by way of the methanation course of.

“Hydrogen thus presents a complementary decarbonisation potential whereas optimising the vitality system,” Poirier-Dietz stated.

[Edited by Frédéric Simon]

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