Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition launches public consultation on system of guarantees of origin for renewable gas

This system will enable certification of the renewable and sustainable origin of renewable hydrogen and biogas, amongst other renewable gases. The new mechanism is provided for in the draft of a proposed Royal Decree. This legislation will also transpose EU criteria for the sustainability of biofuels, bioliquids and biomass fuels, as well as biofuel targets for transport. The deadline for submissions is October 14.

The Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO) has opened the period of public consultation on a draft Royal Decree that will create a system of guarantees of origin for renewable gases, such as green hydrogen, biogas and biomethane, thus enabling distributors and consumers to differentiate them from gas of fossil origin. The draft legislation, which can be consulted here, also incorporates the sustainability criteria set out in EU legislation for solid biomass and biogas, biofuels and bioliquids for transport, electricity, heating and cooling, as well as biofuel penetration targets from 2023.

The draft Royal Decree partially transposes Directive 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, the criteria for the sustainability and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from bioenergy, and guarantees of origin of gas from renewable sources.

Thanks to the new guarantees of origin – similar to those already in place for electricity produced from renewable sources – each MWh of 100% renewable gas will give rise to the issuance of a guarantee of origin with information on where, when and how the gas was produced. These guarantees will provide added value by encouraging the consumption of this gas, with the ensuing environmental benefits.

The future Royal Decree will create a Census of Renewable Gas Production Facilities and a Committee of Renewable Gas Producers. Producers and distributors will be able to exchange guarantees of origin transparently and securely within the system, which will document the production, transfer and cancellation of guarantees of origin. The Technical Manager of the Gas System will be placed in charge of these matters until MITECO has the technical and material means to do so.

The guarantee of origin will certify the volume of gas and its quality, given that it will differentiate between green hydrogen – obtained with renewable energy – biomethane, biogas and other gases. The guarantees will cover any renewable gas produced and consumed, whether onsite or by the producing facility (self-consumption), and regardless of whether or not it is injected into the gas network.

The creation of a system of guarantees of origin for renewable gases was envisaged in the National Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030, the Hydrogen Roadmap, the draft Biogas Roadmap and the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan. Several European countries, such as the UK and France, already have a similar mechanism in place, with good results, but with very varying degrees of progress.

SUSTAINABILITY CRITERIA

The future legislation revises and extends the sustainability and greenhouse gas emission reduction criteria previously applicable to biofuels and bioliquids, and applies them to solid biomass and biogas used for electricity, heating and cooling applications.

In order for agents to be able to prove compliance with European requirements, the legislation is consistent, insofar as possible, with the regulations currently in force at both state and regional level, and with established permits and authorisations. The aim here is to avoid unnecessary administrative burdens.

The draft Royal Decree also establishes targets and calculation rules for the integration of renewables in transport. In this respect, the target set for the penetration of biofuels from food and fodder crops is particularly striking. From 2023, these biofuels must account for 7% of final energy consumption in the rail and road transport sectors.

Targets of at least 0.2% by 2022, 1% by 2025 and 3.5% by 2030 are also introduced for the use of advanced biofuels and biogas in transport.

The period for submissions will remain open until October 14 next and can be sent by email to bzn-sgernormativo@miteco.es. “RD trasposición directiva renovables” should be written in the subject line of all emails.