On the 20 October 2021, the REGATRACE project organised the 3rd Target Workshop for the set-up of registries and integration into the European network. Approximately 40 participants from the Lithuanian private sector involved in biomethane and biogas production from project partners attended the workshop. Due to the current coronavirus pandemic, the workshop took place in a hybrid modality: some of the participants were physically present, while some others joined through a video call.

Stefano Proietti (ISINNOVA) introduced the REGATRACE project. For further information, see presentation: “REGATRACE_ISINNOVA”

Anthony Lorin (EBA) presented the current status of the proposal to revise RED II. Among the most remarkable changes being proposed are the new targets for the transport sector, i.e., changing from renewable energy sources having a share of at least 14% in this sector to achieving a GHG emission reduction of at least 13% in it. The latter will be an obligation to be set on the fuel suppliers and the reduction should be achieved by using both renewable fuels and electricity. This means that the share of renewables in the transport sector will continue to play a key role in its decarbonization, but the ultimate goal is to reduce its GHG emissions rather than having a specific share of renewables in it. It was also mentioned that there will be increased support for using biogas in the maritime and heavy duty transport, which is part of the Fit for 55 Package. Additionally, the proposed revision of RED II contains stricter sustainability rules, with the application of the GHG emission-saving criterion being extended to all existing biogas and biomethane plants. For further information, see presentation: “Revision of the RED II proposal_EBA”.

Milenko Matosic (DENA) showed the current state of the biomethane registries in Europe, including the ones that are already operating and are in some of the REGATRACE target countries, such as Ireland and Lithuania. The registries that were presented included the ones already operating in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and UK. Some of these registries indirectly participate in the REGATRACE project as third-linked parties from ERGaR. In his presentation he included a brief explanation of Work Package 3 and the interplay of its tasks with tasks from other work packages that will help the target countries establish their issuing bodies and set up their registries for biomethane guarantees of origin.

After this presentation, some of the workshop attendants raised questions regarding the future role of GOs and their possible relation with proofs of sustainability (PoS) and mass balancing. It was explained that GOs, as foreseen in RED II, are purely for consumer disclosure and, hence, to decouple the renewable property of biomethane from the actual physical gas being injected into the grid. Additionally, establishing a mass balance system requires the fulfillment of several requirements and there is no harmonized system in Europe yet for cross-border transfer of gas including mass balancing. For further information, see presentation: “European overview of registries_DENA”.

Mindaugas Protas (Amber Grid) presented the Lithuania’s renewable gases strategies and registry. Lithuania’s National Climate Change plan sets a 950 GWh target for biomethane consumption in the transport sector by 2030 and the Ministry of Energy expects to reach a penetration of 5.2% of biomethane and hydrogen in the final fuel mix for transport by 2030. These goals will be supported by the provisions contained in the recently approved Alternative Fuel Law, which also envisages the creation of the Renewable Fuel Statistics Unit that will administered by Baltpool (link). In addition to the aforementioned goals, the Lithuanian Government envisions investment support for biomethane production facilities of up to 23 million EUR (National Climate Change plan) between 2020 and 2021, and 22 million EUR (from the Recovery and Resilience Facility – RRF) between 2022 and 2026. Lithuania’s registry for GOs of renewable gases was established on June 1st, 2019, and Amber Grid was officially designated as the registry’s administrator. The current registry works on a manual basis, but given the rising interest in the renewable gases sector, it was decided to upgrade the current IT system. The tender for the new registry will be announced in the upcoming weeks. The new IT solution will help integrate with other registries and hubs in Europe and enable international transfers of renewable gases GOs. For further information, see presentation: “State of the Registry and renewable gases strategies in Lithuania_Amber”.

Matthias Edel (ERGaR) presented the Union Database introduced in RED II for tracing liquid and gaseous transport fuels. Biofuels and renewable fuels of non-biological origin will also be included in this database. Its main objectives will be avoiding double counting, facilitating the monitoring and reporting for voluntary schemes and Member States, and mitigating the risks of irregularities and fraud. The economic operators along the value chain will have to enter the pertinent information into the Database in real time: fuels’ sustainability characteristics and the transactions related to those fuels. The European Commission intends to start operating the Union Database by December 2022. The current RED II provisions for the Union Database focus on the transport sector. However, most likely for the upcoming RED III, the Union Database will be expanded to cover all sectors (transport, power, heating and cooling). Additionally, he presented information related to the mass balancing of gases in Europe. According to the draft Implementing Act on Sustainability Verification, the interconnected European gas infrastructure shall be considered as one mass balancing unit. However, some questions remain open, such as whether it will be necessary to document the intermediate steps (e.g., change of ownership, capacity booking at interconnection points) between injection and withdrawal of biomethane. Another question remaining open is if it will suffice to prove mass balancing with only injection and withdrawal. Finally, he concluded his presentation by mentioning that gas GOs will be allowed to enter the Union Database only if they are properly cancelled beforehand and a proof of sustainability is available for the corresponding fuels. For further information, see presentation: “Union Database_ERGaR”.

Katharina Kramer (ERGaR) presented the ERGaR schemes for cross-border biomethane trade and the role of the network of the registries. The concepts used in ERGaR’s schemes were introduced (Certificate of Origin-CoO, Proof of Sustainability-PoS, biomass codes). It was noted that there is no harmonization at the European level yet for the biomass codes. The CEN Standard EN16325 (currently under revision) will provide a remedy to this lack of harmonization. Ms. Kramer explained that the ERGaR CoO Scheme supports different biomass coding schemes, which are the ones used by the scheme’s participants in their respective registry. Traders do not participate in the ERGaR CoO Scheme and neither do they interact with scheme participants, i.e., only registries are allowed to participate in it. This means that traders can transfer CoOs from any account held in a participating registry to any account in another participating registry. The CoO Scheme will be adapted in the future to comply with the CEN Standard EN16325 once its revision process is finalized. Current participants of the CoO Scheme are AGCS (AT), dena (DE), GGCS (UK) and Vertogas (NL). Energinet (DK) and GRdF (FR) are in the process of joining it. These six registries account for more than two thirds of the European grid-connected biomethane production capacity. Already two CoO transfers took place between Vertogas and GGCS in the third quarter of 2021. She also informed that the development of the ERGaR RED Mass Balancing (MB) Scheme has been put on hold because ERGaR would prefer to wait for the new legislation currently being prepared by the EU Commission (Union Database, revision of RED II) before proceeding further with the development of its RED MS Scheme. A question arose regarding the possibility for registries from non-EU countries to join the CoO Scheme, to which she answered that it is possible and gave the example of GGCS in the United Kingdom. For further information, see presentation: “ERGaR Schemes for cross-border biomethane trade and the role of the network of the registries_ERGaR”.

Katrien Verwimp (AIB) presented the EECS system and its application to renewable gases. AIB was founded as a non-profit organization in 2002 and its geographical scope is the EU, EFTA, and the Energy Community. Its 31 members represent 27 countries. AIB members comprise a very diverse group of organizations: regulator, market operator, TSO, ministry, power exchange, among others. All current AIB members are issuing bodies for electricity GOs, 8 of them are also issuing bodies for gas GOs appointed by the national regulatory framework. AIB is the developer and custodian of the EECS (European Energy Certificate System) Standard. EECS is based on three pillars: (1) EECS Rules, engaging into quality and harmonization; (2) IT hub, enabling GO transfers between national/regional Domain registries; and (3) peer reviews and audits. She explained what the book & claim system is and how it works, as well as the nature of consumer disclosure for informing consumers about the attributes of the energy they consume. Additionally, the structure and data fields included in a certificate under EECS was shown to the workshop attendants. Finally, it was explained that AIB is organized to facilitate multi-energy carriers; the EECS Gas Scheme launched in November 2019. For further information, see presentation: “The EECS system and its application to renewable gases_AIB”.

 Vytautas Ruolia (Amber Grid) stressed the importance to have comprehensive and harmonised solutions at European level on biomethane registries and cross-border trade. While waiting for those solutions, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia are currently setting-up sovranational cooperation to define common rules and procedures to contribute to an european architecture.