Unlocking and supporting renewable gas in Europe: Policy insights from a comparative analysis

Published on 17 April 2023

By Marzia Sesini, Anna Creti and Olivier Massol

The scaling up of renewable gases is now being presented as a critical and effective component of the EU’s long-term decarbonization strategy. Yet, the support schemes implemented for biogas and biomethane are far less studied than the ones dedicated to renewable power generation (e.g., solar or wind). The present manuscript bridges this gap. After a concise review of the supporting policies implemented in the EU, we conduct a comparative analysis of the mechanisms implemented in Germany, Denmark, and Italy and use it to gain policy insights. Our analysis is based on primary data extracted from policy statements that have been harmonized. Results show that incentivizing the supply-side lowers the risk associated with early investments and market development. Conversely, they highlight inhomogeneity among countries in accounting for demand and end-use in their policies. Finally, they point at the feedstock availability and the geographic and economic structure of a country as factors influencing the development of a market for renewable gases. The analysis stresses the value of policy mix in promoting renewable gases in the EU’s energy mix and provides further evidence supporting the need for an evolution of renewable gas sector policies away from electricity generation.

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