Green gas now ‘serious contender’ to renewables market, says REA

Biomethane capacity in the UK has grown to a level that means it should now be seen as a 'serious contender' to the renewable energy market, the Renewable Energy Association (REA) has said.

There are now 28 biomethane to grid projects connected to the gas distribution network with a combined capacity of 1.8 billion kWh of gas per year.

And, according to the Green Gas Certification Scheme (GGCS) –  which tracks ‘green gas’ through the supply chain – this rapid growth is expected to continue into 2015.

GGCS founder John Baldwin said: “Over the course of 2015, we anticipate an additional 12 projects to come on line. That will bring annual green gas production to 2.3TWh per year. Put another way, that’s 2.3 billion units of gas per year that the UK won’t have to be importing from the Middle East or three 60,000 tonne LNG tankers not needing to dock at our ports.”

Secures growth

Biomethane capacity has doubled every year since 2011 and more than quadrupled in 2014 due to support from the Government in the form of a flat rate subsidy of 7.5p/kWh paid to all plants, regardless of scale, as part of its Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) programme.

Decc reviewed this policy in May 2014 to investigate whether larger planned plants still warranted support, and announced it was adopting a tiered system of tariffs which comes into effect from February this year. This move has been positively received by the Biomethane industry and secures its continued growth.

Biomethane is produced from energy crops, food, brewery and agricultural wastes, thereby also helping to tackle waste problems. As well as producing renewable gas that can be injected into our networks, it can also be used as a fuel for vehicles, such as the ‘poo powered bus‘ from Bristol to Bath introduced in November 2014.

The GGCS was set up in 2011 to provide both suppliers and end users with assurance as to the renewable origin of the gas. The majority of established biomethane to grid plants are already signed up to this not for profit organisation, with many of the planned new plants expected to join. The organisation has sold over 50 million kWh of gas to date and has expectations to have sold two million kWh by this time next year.

Lucinda Dann

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