Renewable gas: a fast-growing energy sector acclaimed by the regions
The quantity of renewable gas injected into the networks doubled in 2018
2018 confirmed the momentum of the biomethane injection sector, with the commissioning of 32 new sites in France, making it 76 facilities connected to French gas networks at end-2018. The quantities of biomethane injected into the French networks reached 714 GWh1 - a figure nearly double that of 2017 and equivalent to the consumption of nearly 60,000 homes. The maximum annual injection capacity of all production sites reached 1,206 GWh at end-2018 compared to 682 GWh at end-2017.
A sector that contributes to regional development
The development of the renewable gas sector reflects very real sense of regional competition. Methanisation for injection into the gas networks has many advantages. It forms part of the circular, agricultural and local economy, with many positive externalities including local waste recovery, the decarbonisation of the energy and agricultural sectors, digestate being returned to the ground as a natural fertilizer, the creation of local jobs, and as a source of innovation. Renewable gas contributes to France's energy independence by producing a non-variable renewable energy that can be easily stored in gas infrastructures and produced close to consumption areas.
A momentum out of step with the Multi-annual Energy Programming (PPE) project, which is less ambitious than the Energy Transition Act and the regional schemes
The number of projects entered in the capacity register doubled in 2018, with some 661 projects registered for a total of 14 TWh of biomethane injection capacity per year. The vast majority of registered projects have been completed, putting us on track to achieve the target set by the Energy Transition and Green Growth Act of 10% renewable gas by 2030. The regional land planning, sustainable development and territorial equality plan projects under discussion (SRADDET or SRCAE in Ile-de-France), the sum of whose targets largely exceeds the national targets of the PPE project unveiled on 25 January, also attest to the great potential of the biomethane sector and its many positive externalities for the regions. Maintaining stable regulations and incentive mechanisms until the sector is up to speed is the one condition needed to sustain current development in a way that supports the circular economy, French agriculture and the climate.