EU wary about one-size-fits-all target for ‘clean gas’

(EurActiv, 27 Feb 2019) Setting a target for low-carbon gases such as hydrogen or biomethane is going to be tricky even though the idea is supported by industry, a senior EU official has said, warning against a one-size-fits-all approach.

The decarbonisation of gas “is going to be one of the main drivers of energy policy” for the next European Commission that will be sworn in after the May 2019 EU elections, said Bartłomiej Gurba, head of gas team at the EU executive.

The Commission is preparing a gas package of legislation for 2020. And it is going to draw inspiration from past regulations in the electricity sector, he told a workshop organised in Brussels last week by the Florence School of Regulation.

“This is very much an inspiration for decarbonising gas and designing the market so that decarbonised gas – biogas, hydrogen – could enter into the picture,” he said.

Eurogas, a trade association, has called for the introduction of a binding target for renewable and decarbonised gases in the forthcoming Gas Package. A dedicated target for clean gas in Europe will help the market pick up and reach higher production volumes, otherwise it will remain stuck in the doldrums, the industry argues.

However, the European Commission is wary about setting a single target for all types of low-carbon gases, suggesting a distinction must be made between the different types. A target for biogas, for example, could have unwanted side effects by pushing farmers to grow energy crops instead of food.

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EurActiv, 27 Feb 2019: EU wary about one-size-fits-all target for ‘clean gas’