The seventh edition of Biogas Italy, the annual event of the CIB – Consorzio Italiano Biogas, closed in Rome, at the Salone delle Fontane, with a second and final day focused on the future prospects of agricultural biogas, with an appeal by the industrial and agricultural sector to the institutions to ensure the development of renewable electricity production, without wasting an important asset, considering the reform of the electricity market initiated by the European Commission.

CIB Vice-President Angelo Baronchelli who stated: “Anaerobic digestion, with the production of biogas and biomethane, is one of the most important innovations implemented in agriculture. In recent years we have shown that the joint work between agriculture and industry has been a successful model within the path of energy transition and environmental sustainability, increasing the competitiveness of the entire sector and providing a concrete response to the food and energy crisis. This will be a year full of challenges for the sector with the opening of three calls for NRRP biomethane incentives. The deadlines may not allow us to meet all the production targets. It is therefore necessary to align the actual timing of investments with those imposed by the Plan in order to allow the sector to ship new initiatives whose production will be decisive for the country’s renewable future.”. 

The day was also an opportunity to talk about renewable electricity production and energy communities, in light of recent decrees that could finally create new opportunities for local development. Thanks, for example, to the recent legislation on energy communities, 15 thousand aggregations of citizens and businesses could be created to produce and consume electricity from renewable sources. In this scenario, there is also the potential of agricultural biogas, which can contribute to the process of decarbonisation, circular economy and development of renewable electricity at the local level, especially at this time of energy crisis. On this point, CIB Director Christian Curlisi said: “Focusing on the biogas supply chain means creating development for territories, renewable energy for businesses and citizens, soil protection, and contributing to the path of ecological and energy transition. In this context, we need an organic framework of reference standards for the sector that can guarantee a path of production continuity for existing initiatives that will not be able to convert to biomethane production and allow the primary sector to express its full production potential. For this reason, the RED 2 decree, which has been notified to Brussels, is a necessary measure to protect electricity production from biogas”.

The biogas chain over the years has also been an important laboratory of innovation, measures that have produced more using fewer resources, reducing waste, ensuring food and renewable energy, and restoring soil fertility and biodiversity. The resources of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) are crucial to spread the application of agroecological practices that will help consolidate the role of the primary sector against the energy and climate crisis. CIB has invited its members to talk about the implementation of the 10 actions proposed with the project ‘Farming for Future: 10 actions to cultivate the future’, the road map for the agro-ecological reconversion of Italian agriculture: centrality to the soil, dissemination and promotion of organic fertilisation, technological innovation and precision agriculture, and the development of renewable energies. Speakers included: Nicoletta Cella, Bosco Gerolo; Stefano Bozzetto, Motta Energia; Enrico Dall’Olio, Soc. Coop. Agr. Agribioenergia; Ernesto Folli, Soc. Agr. Palazzetto. A story of experimentation, cooperation and above all agriculture. 

At the end of the second day, Massimiliano Giansanti, President of Confagricoltura, and Ettore Prandini, President of Coldiretti, emphasised the common commitment to work together and the need for measures to enable the sector to continue along the path of ecological transition: the use of digestate to limit the use of chemical fertilisers, a tax regime in favour of farmers, greater investment in the country’s agro-industrial system, and concrete actions to guarantee a stable future for the production of renewable energy from biogas. 

The 2023 edition of Biogas Italy was attended by more than a thousand participants, entrepreneurs, farmers, institutions and professionals. The initiative was sponsored by the Ministry of the Environment and Energy Security and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry and was supported by 19 member companies of the Consorzio Italiano Biogas and 20 media partners.