Catalonia has a robust, resilient gas system with availability of energy supply every day of the year. However, gas companies in the territory, as in the rest of the European countries, are firmly betting on the progressive decarbonisation of the sector, promoting the development of renewable gases as a green energy vector for the future.
Renewable gas is fully interchangeable with natural gas, so it can be distributed through the existing gas infrastructure and used with the same energy applications in homes, industries, businesses and also for transportation mobility.
The greatest exponent of renewable gas is biomethane, a CO2-neutral fuel that is generated through the degradation processes of organic matter (urban, agricultural, livestock or forestry waste, wastewater, etc.) that, a Once treated, they are transformed into renewable gas.
It is a sustainable and economically competitive solution to promote a decarbonised energy system and fight against climate change, which is already a reality in many European countries, and which is also a determining factor in the decarbonisation process of the energy sector in Catalonia .
According to the report ‘Renewable gases. An emerging energy vector ‘, published by the Naturgy Foundation, the maximum potential for renewable gas production in Spain could be equivalent to 65% of the current total demand for natural gas, if its development were decisively promoted.
The authors of this study argue that, if Spain develops its full production potential, it could reduce some 35 million tons of CO2, that is, more than 10% of the greenhouse gas emissions forecast for the year 2030. This value is equivalent to the CO2 emitted by its entire fleet of passenger cars in one year or that absorbed by the entire forest area of Spain in 2017.
According to experts, biomethane is an unquestionable European reality on the road to decarbonizing the economy and Spain cannot miss this environmental train. It is a solution already implemented and established in many European countries, with more than 700 plants injecting renewable gas into gas networks, and France is an example of the existing trend in Europe, where, with a significant boost from the Administration, every week more plants that inject renewable gas are connected to the grid with the goal that by the year 2050 100% of the gas consumed in this country will come from renewable sources.
In our territory, companies in the gas sector such as Nedgia are promoting the development of renewable gases, such as biomethane, and their injection into the distribution network through multiple lines of action. One of them is the decarbonisation of diffuse sectors of greenhouse gas emissions, such as, for example, through circular economy projects in rural areas. Another avenue is the development of specific projects for renewable gases, biomethane and hydrogen, such as the Elena project.
Last June Nedgia, the gas distribution subsidiary of the Naturgy group in Spain, marked a historic milestone in the energy transition in Spain with the first injection of renewable gas from a landfill in the gas distribution network, thus reaffirming its commitment to the energy transition and being at the forefront of innovation to develop this new energy vector and contribute significantly to the decarbonization of the country’s energy system.
The renewable gas plant, located in the Parc de l’Alba in Cerdanyola del Vallés (Barcelona) next to the Elena waste dump, represented a total investment of 2.2 million euros. With this installation, Nedgia demonstrated its ability to carry out this type of project thanks to the strength of its distribution network, which is prepared to distribute renewable gases due to the investments made in recent years, the existing gas infrastructure in Spain and its contribution to security of supply.
Nedgia’s goal is that by 2050 all the gas that circulates through its networks will be of renewable origin. The company is digitizing its entire distribution infrastructure with an eye on the massive entry of renewable gases, and has presented biomethane and hydrogen projects to the different administrations of the country.
The Cerdanyola del Vallès plant will produce 12 GWh / year of biomethane, which is equivalent to the annual consumption of 3,200 homes, and will avoid the emission into the atmosphere of 2,400 tons of CO2 / year, an amount equivalent to planting some 5,000 trees. Part of the gas that is injected into the network will be used to be supplied as fuel to vehicles at the Naturgy group stations, since it is a totally viable alternative for sustainable mobility. The biomethane produced will allow energy use that contributes to the circular economy, in line with the Climate Change Law and with the objectives of the PNIEC.
These types of projects are also a clear reflection of Nedgia’s support for local energy production, very close to the main areas potentially generating biomethane (landfills, slurry farms and wastewater treatment plants).
In Spain, there is a high potential for the development of biomethane production projects, anticipating an important boom in the demand for commercialization due to decarbonisation needs and the implementation of the GdOs system (guarantees of origin).
Biogas must play a major role in decarbonizing final energy demand. Its limited development so far has been due to multiple factors that have nothing to do with the great potential available in Spain …
According to different studies, the biomethane production potential in Spain is between 122-137 TWh, one of the largest in all of Europe, and with the potential to cover almost double the current domestic-commercial demand