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Temporary special arrangements

Current market situation & influence on our label

Biogas availability

The availability of sustainably produced biogas, which was previously purchased by Grünes Gas-Label takers (energy providers offering gas products with the Grünes Gas-Label), among others, to supply end-customers in the heat sector, has become more difficult since the expansion of the Greenhouse gas reduction quota in the fuel sector will be severely limited in mid-2021. Added to this at the beginning of 2022 are the War in Ukraine resulting price speculation on the gas market, which the Gas prices at a historically high level hold

The current situation means that availability of sustainably produced biogas that meets the criteria of the Grünes Gas-Label is incalculable in 2021 and 2022, as well as in the coming years 2023 and 2024.

What does this mean for me as a consumer?

For a limited period of time, you will receive a fully climate-neutral compensated natural gas share instead of biomethane and promote the expansion of renewable energy plants through the investment commitment of your energy supplier.

In early summer 2021, a law to further develop the greenhouse gas reduction quota in the fuel sector came into force. This resulted in sustainably produced biomethane flowing predominantly into the fuel sector and no longer being available for the heating sector. These shortages were exacerbated by the resurgence of the global economy in the second half of 2021 due to the weakening Corona pandemic. At the end of February 2022, Russia launches a war of aggression in Ukraine in violation of international law, and the situation on the gas markets becomes increasingly acute.

These factors reduce the availability of sustainably produced biogas/biomethane previously purchased from your energy provider for heat products. Due to this, meeting the demand for biogas that meets the Grünes Gas-Label criteria has been (partially) impossible or unreasonably priced since 2021. An improvement of this condition is not foreseeable until the end of 2024. Therefore, your energy provider may conditionally procure conventional, fully climate-neutral compensated natural gas instead of biogas that meets the Green Gas criteria for a limited period of time and commits to investing in renewable energy facilities.

Yes, it is ensured that you receive a fully climate-neutral compensated natural gas share instead of the biomethane and that the energy transition is driven by mandatory investments of your energy provider. If applicable, any additional revenue generated due to more favorable procurement costs must be used for further offset projects and/or invested in energy transition projects, such as new solar installations or energy efficiency measures. This is checked by Grüner Strom Label e.V..

This may be related to the agreed delivery quantities: If an energy provider has concluded a long-term biogas supply contract, the procurement prices are also stable because they are contractually secured. The energy provider is therefore not affected by the procurement problem and can continue to offer biogas to its customers. However, due to factors such as cold winters and summers and/or an increase in new customers, even long-term secured biogas volumes may not be sufficient to meet demand.

Evidence for the use of the temporary special regulation for gas procurement must be submitted to Grüner Strom Label e.V. in advance for verification. Evidence on compensation / investments in energy transition projects will be certified and evaluated in the annual Green Gas Report.

The temporary special regulation for gas procurement under the Grünes Gas-Label was decided by Grüner Strom Label e.V. on 30.07.2021. It came into force on 01.08.2021 and was extended on 22.04.2022. It is valid until 31.12.2024. From 01.01.2025 at the latest, biomethane must again be procured in accordance with regular green gas criteria. This deadline is intended to ensure that energy suppliers are guaranteed planning security for gas procurement. As soon as market conditions settle down again, your gas tariff will again contain the usual biogas share.

What does this mean for me as an energy supplier?

Energy suppliers that can demonstrate that they can no longer cover their procurement of biomethane that meets the Grünes Gas-Label criteria under reasonable conditions can make use of the special regulation during this limited period and thus, instead of biomethane use conventional natural gas if the conditions mentioned below are met. This special regulation is valid retroactively from 01.08.2021 until 31.12.2024.

The special regulation ensures that end-customers receive a fully climate-neutral compensated natural gas share instead of the biomethane. In addition, the energy provider is committed to investing in the expansion of renewable energies.

The energy provider does not gain any advantage from possibly more favorable procurement costs of natural gas: Additional revenues must be used for compensation projects and/or energy transition projects. Resulting investments in energy transition projects (e.g. photovoltaic or wind energy plants, energy efficiency projects, heat supply) are checked by Grüner Strom Label e.V..

Procurement criteria until the end of 2024

The conditions at a glance: Under the following conditions, utilities may procure conventional natural gas in lieu of biomethane that meets Grünes Gas-Label criteria:

1.

The substituted amount of biogas must be generated via compensation projects according to recognized standards (Gold Standard CER/VERCDM and VCS) can be made CO2-neutral.

2.

The difference resulting from the possibly more favorable procurement costs must be invested in additional offset projects and/or energy transition projects.

3.

Obligation to use the green gas support component (at least 0.1 ct/kWh for energy transition projects according to the support criteria of the Grüner Strom-Label).

4.

Active information ensures transparency for end customers.

Evidence for the use of the temporary special regulation must be submitted to Grüner Strom Label e.V. for verification. Evidence of compensation / investment in energy transition projects will be certified and evaluated in the annual Green Gas Report.

Background: Greenhouse gas reduction quota

In early summer 2021, a law to further develop the greenhouse gas reduction quota in the fuel sector came into force. This already led to a strong purchase incentive for limited available, sustainably produced biogas/biomethane in the middle of 2021. Due to the above-mentioned changed legal framework and the resulting market dynamics, the Grüner Strom Label e.V. decided on 30.07.2021 on a special regulation for the procurement criteria under the Grünes Gas-Label, limited from 01.08.2021 to 31.12.2022. On 22.04.2022 an extension of this special regulation was decided until 31.12.2024.

Together for the energy turnaround

Your contact person

Gruener-Strom employee-Christian

Christian Knops

Green Gas Certification Manager

What you should know about biogas

Grünes Gas-Label

Frequently asked questions

With Green Gas-certified tariffs, guaranteed investments flow into the expansion of renewable energies.

The level of investment is determined by a fixed amount per kilowatt hour consumed. Thus, your gas purchase indirectly influences the investments in the energy transition. The areas of support include the mobility transition, energy infrastructure, energy efficiency, and other projects that serve the energy transition, such as nature conservation, development cooperation, and education.

You can find the whole range in the criteria catalog for the Grünes Gas-Label.

Find out which suppliers offer gas tariffs with the Grünes Gas-Labelor contact your supplier and ask about a biogas tariff with the Grünes Gas-Label. Select a labeled tariff and sign the supply contract of the new supplier. The rest is similar to the electricity switch: The new gas supplier cancels the old contract for you at the next possible date and initiates everything else. Until the transfer, the local or previous supplier is obliged to maintain the gas supply. This means that there will be no interruption in supply.

You can find gas tariffs with the Grünes Gas-Label here.

Note: Individual, named biogas tariffs are always certified, not the supplier itself.

The Grünes Gas-Label is the only biogas quality label supported by leading civil society organizations. The supporting associations can be found here.

Through the work of the carrier associations in the board of directors and general meeting, they play a major role in shaping the certification to this day. Changes in the label's criteria, for example, must be approved by all the sponsoring associations.

The Grünes Gas-Label is awarded by Grüner Strom Label e.V., which has been awarding the Grüner Strom-Label for green electricity tariffs since 1998.

Biogas in general

Biogas is produced by the bacterial decomposition of animal or plant substances in a biogas plant. These substances can be, for example, biogenic residues, such as the waste from the organic waste garbage can or liquid manure from agriculture. The fermentation of these substances produces, among other things, biomethane. The resulting biomethane can be used as an energy source in the same way as natural gas and can be fed into the natural gas grid, for example. There are various ways to produce biogas and not all variants are ecologically sustainable.

Substrates, also called feedstocks, are the biogenic raw materials that are introduced into a biogas plant to produce gas. Here, a rough distinction can be made between three classes:

  • Biogenic residues (e.g. biowaste from the organic waste garbage can, plant residues, residues from agriculture such as harvest and slaughter waste, liquid manure, slurry and dung).
  • Sewage sludge and sewage gases from wastewater treatment plants, industrial processes, or commercial production (e.g., from biogenic residues in paper recycling).
  • Renewable raw materials or energy crops (e.g., corn or through-grown silphia).

The abbreviation NawaRo stands for the term renewable raw materials.

This refers to plants or plant components that originate from agricultural production and are not used as food or feed, but are used materially or energetically, e.g. for the production of biogas.

Sewage gas is a methane-containing gas produced during wastewater treatment by the digestion of sewage sludge. Sewage gas contains between 45 and 70 percent methane by volume.

As the name suggests, this is gas that is produced artificially. Gas is produced from water in an electricity-intensive process called electrolysis. This concept is called power-to-gas. In this context, people often talk about green hydrogen. Green' here means that hydrogen is produced with the help of green electricity.

A biogas plant usually consists of a fermentation tank with gas storage, the so-called fermenter, as well as a preliminary pit, a secondary fermenter and fermentation residue storage.

The fermenter, the core of a biogas plant, is filled with the substrates (e.g. NawaRo and liquid manure from the preliminary pit). In the fermenter, the actual biogas formation takes place under exclusion of sunlight and oxygen. Depending on the initial substrate, biogas can be produced by wet or dry fermentation (= digestion). In wet fermentation, a high water content in the fermentation substrate makes the mass stirrable and flowable. Dry fermentation or solid-state fermentation is carried out with stackable organic biomass without mixing. However, it is rather rare in Germany.

The substrate is heated to around 35 to 55 degrees Celsius to accelerate the methane formation process. On average, the substrate remains in a fermenter for 30 days before degassing in the secondary fermenter for another month. The resulting biogas consists of 50 to 70 percent methane, plus carbon dioxide, hydrogen and hydrogen sulfide.

Depending on the end use (on-site power generation, feeding into the natural gas grid, etc.), the biogas is further upgraded. The remaining substrate mixture from the fermenter (digestate) is then reused by farmers as high-quality fertilizer for their fields.

The production of biogas is renewable, largely CO₂-neutral, can be decentralized and occurs independently of limited fossil energy sources. This makes it more environmentally friendly than conventional energy from large-scale power plants. However, biogas production can take place in very different ways from an ecological point of view.

To guarantee a sustainable energy supply, biogas must be produced in an environmentally compatible manner. This includes both the raw materials used and their processing, as well as the logistics of the substrates and the fermentation residues.

The energetic and material use of (anyway accumulating) organic residual and waste materials is part of a sustainable use of resources.

Only certain feedstocks may be used for biogas with the Grünes Gas-Label:

  • Biogenic residues (e.g. biowaste from the organic waste garbage can, plant residues, residues from agriculture such as harvest and slaughter waste, liquid manure, slurry and dung).
  • Sewage sludge and sewage gases from municipal wastewater treatment plants, industrial processes, or commercial production (e.g., from biogenic residues in paper recycling).
  • Renewable raw materials (e.g. maize or through-grown silphia), but only if there is an ecologically sustainable operator concept that is conducive to the energy transition.

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Together for the energy turnaround

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Elisa Voß

Elisa Voß

Working student Online Communication

Gruener-Strom employee-Christian

Christian Knops

Green Gas Certification Manager

Gruener-Strom employee-Nina

Nina Cernohorsky

Speaker Green Gas, Green Power Certification