Spain steps up its efforts to promote biogas development

31 August, 2023

Biogas, as a renewable energy source, has the potential to support the economy’s decarbonisation efforts and help achieve emission reduction and renewable energy objectives at both national and European levels.

By recovering waste, biogas enables the production of local renewable energy that can be stored. This not only contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, but also significantly improves waste management practises. These two factors have positive impacts that include promoting energy autonomy, rural development and the circular economy.

This gas is going to be a key energy in the climate transition process. Biogas has great potential as it is the only renewable energy that can be used for any of the major energy applications: electricity, heat or fuel. It is also seen as the key to increasing energy autonomy.

It is the only renewable energy that can be used for any of the major energy applications

Published in March 2022, the Biogas Roadmap serves as the primary blueprint for the further development of the biogas sector in Spain. It focuses on production through anaerobic digestion (in the absence of oxygen) from organic waste such as manure, agricultural waste, sewage sludge, pruning waste and herbaceous plants. With the aim of reaching a minimum production of 10.41 TWh by 2030, 45 measures are proposed in five main areas: regulatory, sectoral, economic, cross-sectoral and R&D&I instruments.

The Biogas Roadmap aligns with the goals of the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2023 (PNIEC) and aims to foster the growth of biogas as an energy source in Spain. A new draft of the PNIEC for the period 2023-2030 is currently open for public consultation.

In order to increase the presence of biogas and biomethane in the energy mix, the Biogas Roadmap identifies two crucial measures that will be of key importance in the coming years. On the one hand, the introduction of a system of guarantees of origin that makes it possible to verify the amount of energy from renewable gases in order to give biogas added value compared to other energy sources. On the other hand, supporting pilot projects that are essential for validating innovative technologies, improving current processes and expanding the potential uses of biogas.

The keys to updating the PNIEC 2023-2030

The energy sector has undergone significant transformations since the adoption of the approved PNIEC for the 2021-2023 period. Increased climate ambitions, rising demand for energy self-sufficiency and progress in the Recovery Plans have led to the development of a new draft. It is currently in prior public consultation until 4 September and will be submitted to the European Commission in June 2024.

The PNIEC sets the following targets:

  • A 32% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990.
  • 48% renewable energy in final energy consumption.
  • 44% improvement in energy efficiency.
  • 81% of electricity generation from renewables.
  • 51% reduction in energy dependence.

As for biogas, the recently revised PNIEC draft foresees an increase in both biogas and biomethane production. The aim is to reach a production level of 20 TWh by 2030, using the existing potential. This would mean doubling the amount indicated in the Biogas Roadmap.

The recently revised PNIEC draft foresees an increase in both biogas and biomethane production

To achieve this goal, generation capacity will also be expanded. In 2025, gross generation capacity is expected to be 240 MW, with the aim of reaching 440 MW by 2030.

If these targets are met, Spain has the potential to establish itself as a leader in biogas among the other EU member states.