Deputy Secretary General for Energy and Mineral Resources at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications Timo Tatar says the biomethane market in Estonia has grown rapidly in recent years – while in 2018, biomethane production in Estonia was 39,993 MWh, the figure for 2021 had risen to 152,352 MWh.

According to data from the ministry, biomethane currently covers 3-4 per cent of total gas consumption in Estonia.

Tatar said the category of locally produced renewable energy continued to be important and necessary from the security of supply and energy security standpoint. “Every cubic metre of locally produced biomethane means an equivalent amount of natural gas that does not have to be sourced from Russia. That is why we have made efforts to create a biomethane market environment and today we are seeing the first fruits,” Tatar told BNS.

Tatar said biomethane had a key role in meeting climate goals, but it also allows the domestic fuels market to be increased, thereby also bolstering energy security. The renewable energy directive envisions 14% of end consumption transport fuel to be based on renewables by the year 2030. Biomethane has a major share here, as it should make up about one-third of green fuels.” Liquid bioadditives and green electricity should cover the rest of the renewable fuels needed by the transport sector.

The state pays producers subsidies for the quantity of gas supplied and consumed based on the sector in which the end consumption of the biomethane occurs. For example, if biomethane is used in transport, the producer receives a subsidy at a rate of 100 euros per MWh minus the average market price of natural gas in the previous month.

The applications for support began to be accepted on 6 February 2018 and the measure will remain open until 31 December next year or until the allocated funds are exhausted. Close to 25 million euros in support has been paid to this point, and the balance of the measure is slightly more than 12 million euros, although if the revenue received from auctioning emissions units also means a corresponding change in the amount of funds available for use.

Tatar said that the aim upon the end of the subsidy is to move on to market-based solutions, where the fuel seller can trade green fuel, including biomethane allowances, in order to fulfil the target share of renewable energy in that fuel seller’s fuel portfolio.

“Besides directly supporting biomethane production, we also continue to develop consumption. For example, the state has supported the construction of biomethane filling stations and the purchasing of buses for public bus routes, and this volume is growing,” said Tatar. To this point, the construction of more than 20 filing stations and purchases of over 200 buses have been supported.

A total of 12 million euros in resources have also been reserved in the new EU budgetary period for increasing the pace of biomethane consumption. This sum is used to support filling station infrastructure and the adoption of biomethane-powered vehicles, Tatar added.

Biomethane is currently produced in Estonia by Rohegaas OÜ, Biometaan OÜ, Vinni Biogaas OÜ, Tartu Biogaas OÜ and Oisu Biogaas OÜ. A number of projects are still in preparation, according to the ministry.

Source: BNS, published on Rohegeenius