The present paper discusses the possibility of importing biomethane from Ukraine and Belarus into the EU in order to contribute to achieve the 20 percent target of the European Renewable Energy Directive (RL 2009/28/EC). The directive requires each member state of the EU to increase its share of renewable energies by a national binding amount until 2020. As a consequence there is created a demand for renewable energy, which not all member states may be able to saturate by town local, renewable energy sources. This can be seen as an opportunity for some neighbouring countries of the EU to tap their renewable energy potentials with the help of external means.
Ukraine and Belarus have large potentials of biomass that has not been taken advantage of yet. They are at the same time transit countries for Russian gas. Hence, biomethane could be produced in those two states and be transported to the EU through the existing gas pipelines.
Besides answering the question whether imported biomethane can - from a judicial point of view - be counted towards the renewable energy targets, the paper also analyses as a European example the German demand for biomethane as well as the German renewable energy support scheme regarding its effects on a potential biomethane import. In a next step, the general framework conditions of the two selected export countries Ukraine and Belarus are investigated in order to evaluate whether or not they are conducive to a biomethane export.
The paper is a status-quo analysis that seeks to answer the question if a biomethane import into the EU is possible under the current framework conditions. As the target perspective is linked to the Renewable Energy Directive, it may imply a relatively short problem-solving period. However, it can also be seen as a basis for developing a longer-term strategy as the current framework conditions are evaluated and could therefore be adapted in the future.
Charlotte Ruhbaum, Christian Handwerk, Gregor Büning, Katja Treichel:
Biomethanimporte in die EU zur Erreichung des 20-Prozent-Zieles der
Wuppertal Paper no. 185 (April 2011)