Following the war launched by Russia in Ukraine, the European Union (EU) Member States have committed to replacing some of their natural gas consumption with a locally produced, purified biogas product, biomethane. It can be used in the same way as natural gas, both for the production of thermal energy and fuel.
Board Chairman of the Conexus joint natural gas transmission grid Uldis Bariss said that the company was planning to build four centralized biomethane injection points in Latvia. The first would be located in Džūkste of Tukums municipality.
"The biogas can be placed in a biomethane container and then brought to the injection point. Biogas must be purified from various additional gases, most of which are CO2. By then, it's already the same product as natural gas. The potential for Latvia is certainly large enough and each of these producers will be able to obtain proof of gas origin, which will be recognized throughout Europe, and thus it will be possible to market it in principle to any customer,” Bariss said.
Andis Kārkliņš, head of the Latvian Biogas Association, said that biomethane injection points are needed in Latvia, the only question is their location.
“The easiest way to transport this green natural gas is through pipelines. Conexus wants to put points where they are more comfortable. The logic would be to put a point to either where there is a stable remover [..]. I don't see any point in building a point in Preiļi, if there's no project for Preiļi biogas station. The other negative is that we lack an exact regulatory base. And at the same time, we want to take the money that is meant for the climate, [..] ” said Kārkliņš.
Kristīne Veģere, former researcher of Riga Technical University and board member of the Latvian Biogas Association, estimated that the promotion of biomethane needed state aid to adapt biogas stations to biomethane production.
"The way to help switch existing biogas plants to biomethane production should be considered, where rather substantial additional investment is needed. There should be some support mechanisms, either a tax reduction or a grant mechanism, so that indeed producers are interested in developing the production of biomethane, and in the transport sector there are companies that are prepared to support the use of biomethane. In Latvia biomethane's potential is still quite high, could replace 20% of natural gas consumption, but there are no initiatives to move in this direction and become more energy-independent," Veģere said.