Biomethane industry must show ‘60% greenhouse gas savings’, says Government

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published further details on the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), detailing how biomethane plants claiming support under the scheme must demonstrate a minimum 60% saving in greenhouse gas emissions.

Biomethane – produced from food waste, energy crops and agricultural and industrial residues using the anaerobic digestion (AD) process – can be used in trucks with gas engines and buses or injected into the gas grid to heat homes and businesses.

The sustainability criteria were due to commence in April this year but will now apply from autumn 2015, subject to parliamentary approval. This means fuel suppliers will have a year to adjust their supply chains and learn to use new reporting systems.

The Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA) and the Renewable Energy Association (REA) have been working with DECC to guarantee the new rules deliver greenhouse gas savings without putting industry investments and jobs at risk.

Meeting expectations

Commenting on the announcement, ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton said: “DECC’s approach to RHI sustainability sets a challenging greenhouse gas emission target for biomethane plants but is in line with developers’ expectations, and confirmation of DECC’s approach will improve the confidence of industry and investors.

“Delivering UK green gas can decarbonise difficult areas such as heating and transport, as well as improving our energy security.

“We would like to thank DECC for their positive engagement with the industry, and look forward to continuing to work with them to clarify outstanding issues and set a long term policy framework for biomethane.”

REA chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska added: “DECC has engaged constructively with stakeholders across the industry and shown that it supports the sustainable development of the UK green gas sector.

“Getting these new greenhouse gas rules finalised before the election is good news for the long-term stability of the sector. We look forward to working with DECC to further develop these rules to reflect the full environmental costs and benefits of green gas.”

Lois Vallely

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