Over and again, legislators worldwide are confronting the same question: which technologies do we subsidise and support, when, by how much, and for how long. Get it right and those costs will reduce and should disappear once scale is reached. Solar and wind are on their way to proving that. What about biofuels? Marc-Antoine Eyl-Mazzega and Carole Mathieu of the Institut Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI) look at the last 10 years. The EU leaders are Denmark (10% of the gas grid), Germany (over 100,000 direct jobs) and Italy (focussed on the transport sector). Growth has been impressive but will be difficult to sustain if subsidies are cut too soon, say the authors. Committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 and facing the depletion of its gas fields in the North Sea, Denmark has a clear interest in making biogas and biomethane central pillars of its future smart energy system. Likewise, Germany’s Energiewende and its focus on renewable-based electricity generation has led to a robust development of biogas plants with onsite electricity conversion and satellite Combined Heat & Power (CHP) units. This way, Germany became – by far – the largest biogas producing country in the EU, with about 105,000 direct jobs in its bioenergy sector. In Italy, the high availability of agricultural feedstock and the widespread use of gas in transport activities have also been strong arguments in favour of biogas production and the upgrade into biomethane, to facilitate the achievement of the renewables expansion target for the transport sector and reduce the country’s CO2 emissions.
Energy Post 13th May 2019 read more »