The opportunities related to the development of biomethane and the continuity of biogas valorization, the criticalities that could slow down the achievement of the goals, the actions to be put in place to allow agriculture to play its part are the main focuses presented in Rome, during the annual appointment with the new edition of Biogas Italy, promoted by CIB – Consorzio Italiano Biogas.

“Achieving the ambitious targets for the development of biogas and biomethane production outlined in the Pnrr would allow us to strengthen national energy security by leveraging the transition path started by our farms -said Piero Gattoni, president of CIB- “Companies are ready to take up this challenge, however, we need an implementation path that takes into account the timing of investments and ensures their bankability”, he added, hoping that “we will broaden the look outlined by the Pnrr beyond 2026. The plan must be a step in an industrial and energy strategy that looks to the future”.

Special attention was paid to the contribution of the agricultural sector toward the path of ecological transition, in light of the changed geopolitical scenario that has put the strategic role of agriculture back at the center. Maciej Golubiewski, chief of staff to the European Commissioner for Agriculture, reiterated the strategic role of biogas and biomethane, renewing Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski’s full support for the sector: “The launch of the Biomethane Industrial Partnership (Bip) will be instrumental in addressing the challenges of the future for the implementation of a favorable framework that can contribute to the achievement of the ambitious target of producing 35 billion cubic meters of biomethane by 2030. The war in Ukraine has brought back the need to intensify efforts for renewable energy production in Europe, without going to the detriment of food production. In particular, biogas and biomethane hold a unique opportunity for European energy independence”.

At the heart of the event was the strategic role of biomethane for the country’s climate, energy and sustainable future. Starting with the resources put into the system by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP): approximately 2 billion euro for investments in the construction of new biomethane production plants and the dissemination of ecological practices that could lead to an additional production of 2.3 billion cubic meters of biomethane by the end of 2026. As mentioned by Harmen Dekker, CEO of EBA – European Biogas Association, this is part of a more ambitious European pathway that should lead the EU to produce 35 billion cubic meters of biomethane by 2035 to reduce gas dependence on foreign countries and encourage the green transition, as foreseen in the REPowerEu Commission Plan.

Regarding the publication of the new biomethane decree and the first NRRP call for the opening of the first public competitive procedure, Gattoni reiterated: “The tight timeframe of the NRRP, compounded by difficulties due to the high price of raw materials and the timing of connections to the gas transportation and distribution network, risk slowing down the development of the biomethane supply chain”, he said, hoping for “legislative responses consistent with the needs of companies to make investments”.

Closing the event, speaking via videoconference, Environment Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin recalled that “biomethane plays a strategic role for Italy’s energy security and for ensuring decarbonization goals to 2030 on the one hand and promoting circular economy and achieving energy diversification goals on the other”, so “the road has been traced”. Finally, a passage on the forthcoming RES2 decree: “The measure has been notified to the European Commission and an agreed position has been found. We hope to convince Brussels to allow the development of biomethane as a priority and, when conditions do not allow it, the use of biogas for electricity production.”