News comes to Meth’Agriday – Terres et Territoires

The war in Ukraine and its aftermath was invited to Méth’Agriday on Tuesday 22 March at the Artois Expo in Arras. The news refers to the recent regulations that have run their course for many new projects and the urgent search for solutions to replace Russian gas.

Despite speeches of intent, the current regulatory environment is holding back the development of new projects, acknowledged Christian Durlin (second from left). © LDG

“Not a day goes by that we don’t talk about biogas”, drawn by Didier Cousin during his speech at the opening of Méth’Agriday on Tuesday 22 March at the Artois Expo in Arras (62). Hauts-de-France GRDF Territorial Director and Rev3 CCI President presents the results of sector deployment since 2011, “year of production of the first cubic meter of biomethane in a regeneration center in the Lille metropolitan area, a first in France”.

The ambition of Hauts-de-France is not least: to become the leading European region producing injected biomethane. A very relevant topic at a time when the European Union has just doubled its biogas targets to 35 bcm.3 per year by 2030 – break away from Russian fossil fuels.

The “obvious” solution?

“By 2030, we could produce 20% of the biomethane consumed in France, subject to administrative simplifications”Didier Cousin continues.

Not to mention carbon neutral. “Renewable gas is an obvious solution to reduce our energy dependency. The goal of 100% green gas by 2050 is achievable if we reduce consumption. » Gas, the energy of the future? “Fossil gas will be reduced, but green gas will be the main tool in the energy mix. Electricity cannot answer everything. We are lucky that the region has a transport and storage infrastructure. »

“This is a topic that affects agriculture in many ways.says Christian Dourlin, President of the Chamber of Agriculture Nord-Pas-de-Calais, who in turn takes the microphone. This day is a symbol, and when I see its success, I tell myself that we are where we should be. Anaerobic digestion is the answer to environmental and economic problems, but has also become a geopolitical issue. »


But between the end of 2020 cuts in feed-in tariffs and the new regulations on installations classified to protect the environment (ICPE) that went into effect last summer and placed further restrictions on units already in operation, the reality for biomethanation is more contrasting than the statements of intent. “Existing conditions hinder the development of new projects”, acknowledges Christian Durlin. And at the moment, despite the new European ambitions, nothing has changed.

“We are facing a situation that we have been expecting for a year or two, which is that the sector is seeing progress on existing projects but not enough new methanation projects.notes Arnaud Etienne, an anaerobic digestion expert at the Chamber of Agriculture. We hear at the national level the desire for biogas to play its part in France’s energy autonomy, but the conditions for the emergence of new projects remain unfavorable. »

At a time when the price of biogas has become three to four times cheaper than the world price of gas, the sector is making proposals to the government, in particular, to halve the time for preparing files for new block projects. “The situation is not easy. Anaerobic digestion has a place to be, but favorable and calm conditions are needed, and not haste. At present, the rules of the game are extremely violated…”, supported by an expert.

Can the presidential elections, coupled with the geopolitical context, speak in favor of the development of methanization? “All candidates want to develop green energyAnswered by Christian Durlin. We will need to study the details of the programs and see what is being done…”

Lucy de Goossem

Read also: Biomethane: renewable gas market players call for action

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