The European RES policies as a whole for many years have been converging on the most rational utilization of Biogas by upgrading it to Biomethane and using it for uses where fossil Natural Gas is traditionally used.
This trend has recently been intensified due to economic and geopolitical reasons following the rapid increase in natural gas prices at the end of 2021 on the one hand and the shortages of sufficient quantities in Europe due to the impact of the Ukrainian crisis on the other. The essential result of the latter was reflected in the decision of the European Commission REPowerEU and in particular in the target of annual Biomethane production of 35 billion cubic meters per year until 2030.
In order to compare the importance of domestically produced Biomethane, it is important to calculate the potential portion of Biomethane in the total of Natural Gas consumption.
- Of the 35 BNm3/a of the pan-European target, the estimate for Greece’s quota is around 600 MNm3/a (Gas for Climate Study, July 2022). These estimates are confirmed by studies of domestic bodies, with the most valid being those carried out by CRES (KAPE).
- These annual quantities correspond to approximately 7.5% of the current total consumption of the country, including what is utilized for electricity generation (according to a statement by DEPA in 2021 the total consumption of Natural Gas was 69.96 million MWh)
- Of the total annual amount of natural gas, 18.77%, i.e. 13.13 million MWh (about 1.4 BNm3/a) is distributed through distribution networks. In other words, the total biomethane potential corresponding to the REPowerEU target for Greece (600 MNm3/a) could cover 43% of the current annual needs of the distribution networks!!! So Biomethane is one of the pillars that will compensate for the inevitable cuts in Natural Gas supplies, which started with the recent imposition of 15%.
From the above, the importance of Biomethane can be deduced not only for the energy transition of the Greek energy sector and the decarbonization process, but also for the substitution of imported natural gas with a domestically produced equivalent energy product at a relatively stable cost that will not be affected by energy and geopolitical judgments. Consequently, transmission and distribution system operators should facilitate its penetration into the respective market.