Crédit Agricole group met with players from the biogaz industry at the Biogaz Europe exhibition held in Nantes on 7 and 8 February
With over two thirds of France’s agricultural anaerobic digestion sites financed by the Group’s Regional Banks and subsidiaries, Crédit Agricole is a key player in the developing Biogaz sector.
At end September 2017, the French environment and energy management agency, ADEME, counted 531 facilities producing 412 megawatts of electricity (MWe), of which two thirds were agricultural facilities and 38 were biomethane injection facilities, representing 574 gigawatt hours a year. The strong momentum seen in 2017 (for example, installed power from biomethane injection virtually doubled) is set to continue. There are a number of reasons for this:
- A ‘multiannual energy plan’ that sets a trajectory for the national energy mix, and in particular for biogas, at 13.5 terawatt hours (TWh) from cogeneration and 8 TWh from injected biomethane by 2023. While this target may appear optimistic, the injection figure corresponds to projects already in the portfolio.
By 2030, the target is for 10% of national gas consumption to consist of green gas. A survey published by ADEME and gas network operators goes further, predicting that by 2050, 100% of the mains supply will consist of injected renewable gas. By 2030, then, biomethane injection could account for 60% of sites and 80% of volumes (70 TWh), equating to almost 5,000 out of a total of 8,000 to 9,000 sites, including cogeneration units. This scenario is consistent with the amount of usable biomass resources, estimated at almost 90 TWh in 2030.
- Support from the Ministry of Ecology, which in January launched renewable energy working groups to “review the regulatory and administrative environment” with the aim of simplifying it and facilitating funding for the sector.
The gradual scheduled reduction in government subsidies supporting the emergence of the renewables sector only make this need all the more pressing. ADEME subsidies represent 10-20% of the cost of a project.
- Significant involvement and response from gas distribution and transmission network operators (GRDF and GRTgaz), which have encouraged the development of biomethane injection by lowering project costs in 2017 and providing close support to project holders. For example, a guide titled ‘Design your injection project and prepare your funding application’, written with input from all financial partners, was presented by GRDF, together with the Crédit Agricole group, on 7 February.
- Gradual standardisation of projects and practices in the agricultural world, using technologies and equipment better suited to France’s specific characteristics: a wide variety of input types, with an emphasis on recovering waste and sub-products (livestock manure, etc.), in contrast to neighbouring countries like Germany, where growth in the biogas sector has been based on the choice of energy crops.
- Strengthening manufacturers to cope with the increasing number of projects and growing demand for training and technical support in the country’s regions.
In this context, the Crédit Agricole biogas working group – which brings together renewable energy experts from across the Regional Banks, the Farming department, the Economic Research department, Unifergie, Pacifica and CAMCA Courtage – has kicked off a campaign aimed at getting to know better key technical players in the sector, including manufacturers. The first phase of this campaign consisted of meeting with leading players at the exhibition and asking them to complete a questionnaire.
The Farming and Economic Research departments would be happy to discuss the issues linked to this exhibition and more globally to the Biogaz sector.
Consulting Engineer ECO – DIS
Sector Expert – A2MS