The European Union (EU) aims to fully decarbonise its economy, which requires a complete overhaul of the energy system and its infrastructure by 2050. The European Commission announced the European Green Deal in December 2019; this deal includes a wide variety of plans to step up climate mitigation policies. At the EU level, debate is ongoing to bring developments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55% by 2030 forward. Raising the ambitions of EU climate policy will require significant investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy, new low-carbon technologies, and grid infrastructure. It will also necessitate the close integration of the electricity and gas sectors and their respective infrastructures. A decarbonised Europe will be based on an interplay between the production of renewable electricity and renewable and low-carbon gases to transport, store, and supply all sectors with renewable energy at the lowest possible costs.
In a series of reports over the past few years, the Gas for Climate consortium has showed that renewable and low-carbon gases have an important role to play in the EU energy system and that existing gas infrastructure and knowledge can support the transition to an energy system with net-zero CO₂ emissions at the lowest societal cost.³ The Gas for Climate vision and pathways² towards 2050 cover all energy-intensive economic sectors and demonstrate that renewable electricity and renewable and low-carbon gases play a crucial role in achieving Europe’s climate ambitions for 2030 and 2050 (see Box 1). The pathway analysis also demonstrated that current policies and trends are not yet sufficient to realise that ambition. Policy and market action are required to speed up the transition, and progress of necessary developments must be closely monitored to ensure the transition is done at the lowest societal costs.
Renewable and low-carbon hydrogen and biomethane developments attract a lot of positive attention in the media, both in discussions of new policies and in company strategies. However, a single comprehensive overview of the current market state of deployment and of trends towards further scale-up and cost reductions is missing. This report aims to fill this gap by providing an overview to policymakers, energy users and producers, equipment manufacturers, and infrastructure companies. It is the first in a series that aims to provide insight into the current state and trends of renewable gases.
The authors would like to thank the European Biogas Association (EBA) for its extensive insight into the latest biogas and biomethane statistics in Europe. This report also builds on important data retrieved from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Observatory (FCHO), and the European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO).