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Green Gas Supplied To 1 Million Homes Con

April 26, 2019
tags:

By Paul Homewood

 

 

h/t Joe Public

 

 

 

From PEI:

 

 

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More than one million homes in the UK are now supplied with green gas, according to new data.

Statistics from the Green Gas Certification Scheme show that since 2017 there has been a 13-fold increase in the number of customers now being supplied with green gas in Britain, hitting the one million homes mark for the first time this year.

UK Energy Minister Claire Perry said: “Using food and farm waste to create greener gas means millions of people can continue to heat their homes and cook meals while cutting harmful emissions. Reducing our dependence on natural gas will help to tackle climate change, which is exactly why we have invested £656m in biomethane to scale up green gas.”

Green gas is biomethane and is created from biodegradable material such as farm and food waste. The gas is injected into the grid and then used in the same way as natural gas for cooking and heating.

Dr Kiara Zennaro, head of Biogas at UK trade group the Renewable Energy Association, said green gas “has a crucial role to play in the decarbonization of heat and transport in the UK. Government support schemes have stimulated between £400m and £800m of investment in this low-carbon sector to date, facilitating the development of competitive supply chains, improving soil health, increasing farm productivity and reducing the amount of waste going to landfill.”

Green gas is recognized as having a vital role to play helping the UK meet its decarbonization targets and figures show that it has the potential to supply 10 million homes by 2050.

https://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/2019/04/green-gas-now-supplied-to-one-million-uk-homes.html

This story is based on a highly misleading press release from the Green Gas Certification Scheme (GGCS).

Business Green, who also carry the story, note that there has been a 13-fold increase in the number of customers since 2017, yet only a fourfold rise in production since 2015, which all sounds a bit suspicious!

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https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3074565/green-gas-milestone-one-million-uk-homes-now-supplied-with-biomethane

The reality is that most suppliers of green gas to households only include a very small proportion in their supply. For instance, Good Energy, who are listed amongst the Green Gas Certification Scheme’s list of suppliers, only sources 6% of the gas it sells from biogas. To offset the rest, it operates carbon offsets elsewhere in the world.

Very worthy, no doubt, but not much use if you want to heat your home in Birmingham.

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https://www.goodenergy.co.uk/our-energy/green-gas/

As for the claim about 1 million customers, they may not all be eco warriors. I plead guilty to recently signing up with one such green energy supplier.

And the reason? I could have got competitive deals from all the major energy companies, but they all insisted on installing smart meters. Smaller outfits, such as Good Energy, have no obligation to do so, and of course avoid the massive costs involved as well.

A million customers gives the impression that green gas is now a substantial player, but because each only receives a tiny proportion of green gas, the reality is much less impressive.

According to the Business Green article, biogas production has now reached 2.5 TWh a year. However BEIS figures show that total demand for gas last year was 876 TWh. Biogas, therefore, only accounts for 0.3% of overall gas supply.

And even then this biogas is not of much use, as GGCS admit:

The raw gas is upgraded to pipeline quality by adding propane to increase the calorific value (CV), removing water vapour to safeguard pipelines and adding odorant for safety.

I have no particular objection to biogas in principle, but recall what Claire Perry says:

Reducing our dependence on natural gas will help to tackle climate change, which is exactly why we have invested £656m in biomethane to scale up green gas.”

When she talks of investing, she actually means subsidising. And £656m is a huge sum of money for such a tiny amount of energy.

Don’t fall for the crap about scaling up either. There is no evidence that the cost of producing and upgrading biogas will come down significantly in years to come.

25 Comments
  1. MrGrimNasty permalink
    April 26, 2019 3:16 pm

    This really is one for the BS detector.

    I saw another electricity co. ad. the other day claiming to supply from 100% renewables – they must make the electrons a special shape and install some sort of filter in the meter!

  2. April 26, 2019 3:23 pm

    Much of this “green gas” comes form Anaerobic Digesters, which use huge amounts of diesel to grow and transport food crops to be turned into biogas. It would be more efficient and would produce fewer emissions if the diesel was used directly to produce electricity from diesel generators (but that wouldn’t be green). It would also help to reduce both food and fuel poverty.

    The latest edition of the BBC Radio 4 programme, Costing the Earth, was discussing whether the UK could grow all its own food, but unsurprisingly it never mentioned the millions of tonnes of food crops that are grown specifically to be “burnt” in Anaerobic Digesters.

    • April 26, 2019 3:33 pm

      R4 also failed to mention food exports from the UK, which could displace imports if, by chance, there were problems with exports.

  3. Ian Magness permalink
    April 26, 2019 3:28 pm

    Thanks for this Paul.
    I really must be missing somethings here. Perhaps you or your many knowledgeable readers can put me right?
    OK, so with biogas, methane that might have otherwise dribbled into the air over years, is developed more quickly in the digesters but then trapped for burning in homes or businesses later. However, given that CH4 is in such low concentrations in the atmosphere that it doesn’t really matter to AGW, why isn’t it better just to leave the plants to rot (perhaps fertilising the soil at the same time), rather than fast-tracking CH4 production in order to burn it? Further, the bi-product of the reaction is that each and every C atom is combined with O, thereby producing the planet-destroying CO2 which, we are led to believe, is already in far too high a concentration in the atmosphere for the future of mankind.
    It seems that, for whatever cost in terms of process construction, maintenance, distribution etc, all we are doing is swapping CO2 produced by burning a fossil fuel with CO2 produced by burning methane produced by digesters.
    What’s the point? What am I missing?

    • Joe Public permalink
      April 26, 2019 10:40 pm

      Hi Ian

      “However, given that CH4 is in such low concentrations in the atmosphere that it doesn’t really matter to AGW”

      Ah but it does really matter. It’s a tangible club the greenies use to batter the FF industry by claiming exaggerated fugitive emissions.

      CH4 is a low concentration in the atmosphere approx 1,800 ppb.

      According to WikiP:

      Methane in the Earth’s atmosphere is a strong greenhouse gas with a global warming potential (GWP) 104 times greater than CO2 in a 20-year time frame; methane is not as persistent a gas as CO2 and tails off to about GWP of 28 for a 100-year time frame.[15][16] This means that a methane emission will have 28 times the impact on temperature of a carbon dioxide emission of the same mass over the following 100 years. Methane has a large effect but for a relatively brief period, having an estimated lifetime of 9.1 years in the atmosphere,[15] whereas carbon dioxide has a small effect for a long period, having an estimated lifetime of over 100 years.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_methane

      • Joe Public permalink
        April 26, 2019 10:41 pm

        An alternative view is:

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/04/11/methane-the-irrelevant-greenhouse-gas/

      • GraemeNo.3 permalink
        April 27, 2019 1:31 am

        104 times as potent as CO2? Over the years I’ve watched the “threat” of methane climb from 14 to 25 to 43 to 60 something. That’s a record! Sure to be broken in the near future by some hysterical activist.
        On the other hand, given that in reality CO2 has very little effect on climate this factor might be right. The effect of methane is 104 times 1.8 (converted to p.p.m.) or 187 p.p.m. CO2 equivalent. We’re doomed!
        BUT WAIT…what is the increase in methane in the atmosphere compared with that in, say, the Medieval Warm Period? With the fugitive nature of methane we will not know until time travel is perfected. NASA and HADCRUT are making giant strides in this; already they have been able to go back 100 years and change the temperature, so very soon I expect we will get confirmation that “it is worse than we thought”.

    • April 27, 2019 9:24 am

      It would be more effective to dry the biomass & burn it (Drax probably has room for a few extra tonnes.) (Don’t get me started on Drax…)

      The reason for these very low efficiency digesters and their disgusting sludge is that the CH4 enters the gas network – burning dried biomass would supply the electricity network. We are running out of conventional gas, so our idiots in charge think it’s better to have these polluting and pointless pools of fetid black mucus cluttering up the place and producing a gnat’s **** of what’s needed rather than er, getting abundant natural gas out of shale by fracking…

  4. April 26, 2019 3:29 pm

    BBC R4 Money Box covered “Green Energy” this week, they actually asked some sceptical questions about whether signing up for 100% renewable makes any real difference, but allowed crappy responses with no follow-up, such as “if you live near a windfarm then most of your electricity will come from it”.

    • April 27, 2019 9:17 am

      R4 PM yesterday interviewed a green representative re: European elections. She said that renewables are the cheapest form of energy, & demanded that £6billion of subsidies for fossil fuels be removed. This must relate to the fact that there is only a 5% VAT rate on energy. So a lower VAT is a subsidy, but a subsidy to anaerobic digesters is “investment.”

      :/

      • Gerry, England permalink
        April 27, 2019 10:19 am

        The greenies regard favourable tax rates as a ‘subsidy’ rather than just taking less tax. Giving taxpayer cash to biogas is a subsidy.

  5. Silverback permalink
    April 26, 2019 3:39 pm

    Shouldn’t Claire Perry be re-named the Minister for Telling Fibs, she never seems to get much right does she?

    • Peter Plail permalink
      April 27, 2019 9:54 am

      What, another one? The government is overflowing with them.

  6. Hugh Sharman permalink
    April 26, 2019 3:46 pm

    “The raw gas is upgraded to pipeline quality by adding propane to increase the calorific value (CV), removing water vapour to safeguard pipelines and adding odorant for safety.”

    Actually, the composition of the “raw” gas from an anaerobic digester is roughly 40% CO2. I presume that during the “upgrading” step mentioned, the CO2 is filtered out (using amines and heat) and vented to the air. It has almost no commercial uses except for providing the “fiz” to mineral drinks and beer.

  7. John F. Hultquist permalink
    April 26, 2019 3:53 pm

    Reminds me of my mother’s favorite Rhubarb/Strawberry pie.
    You get a stalk of Rhubarb and crush it into a bowl, then set the bowl on your table. The aroma of crushed Rhubarb lofts from the bowl.
    Then you get a basket of fresh Strawberries and follow the directions in the family cookbook. When you are done preparing the strawberries, take the Rhubarb outside and toss it into the compost pile.
    Red wine helps. Take a sip at each step during the preparation. If there is wine left after preparing the pie, your sips are not big enough. Start another pie.

    Seriously: Do you Brits have a phrase similar to the USA’s “drain the swamp”?
    Seems you have plenty of swamp style creatures that stay busy making up stories similar to pig’s ears and silk purses.
    There is a need to drain that swamp (or whatever).

    • HotScot permalink
      April 26, 2019 4:16 pm

      Potentially our swamp in the UK may well prove self draining if they don’t get their finger out over Brexit.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      April 27, 2019 10:22 am

      We have more ‘bogs’ than ‘swamps’ in the UK based on peat. Then in Scotland they have ‘flow bogs’.

  8. mikewaite permalink
    April 26, 2019 4:33 pm

    I can understand using the methane generated by landfill sites to supplement natural gas supplies, but I am surprised so much money is directed to using good farming land just to grow crops for biomass. (Was this not the scheme that led to scams in N. Ireland?)
    Especially surprised because the DECC itself produced a report in Dec 2013 on the potential for gas from the extensive Bowland Shale-Hodder formation.

    https://www.ogauthority.co.uk/media/2782/bgs_decc_bowlandshalegasreport_main_report.pdf

    If I understand the conclusions correctly (always a big if) the estimated gas- in -place (ie not recovered gas ) was 800 – 2000 tcf (trillion cubic feet).
    To put this in context, the total, recovered, gas from offshore by 2011 was 80tcf -and we have been living on that ( and other imports of course) for about 40 years.
    Could not the £650M have been put to better use in exploiting this native resource?

    • mikewaite permalink
      April 26, 2019 5:21 pm

      Sorry- correction “…crops for biogas ” not “biomass” as written above.

  9. dennisambler permalink
    April 26, 2019 5:33 pm

    http://www.greengasgrids.eu/about/biomethane.html

    “Despite the high interest and willingness of policy-makers and market actors to increase biomethane production, developments are slow and support is still highly needed. This is mainly due to the complexity of the long value chain, lack of cooperation between the involved stakeholders as well as cross-border trade barriers.”

    Co-funded by the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme of the European Union

  10. April 26, 2019 6:57 pm

    we have invested £656m in biomethane

    Somebody is laughing all the way to the bank.

  11. Harry Passfield permalink
    April 26, 2019 7:43 pm

    My BS detector went off scale when I read: “Government support schemes have stimulated between £400m and £800m of investment in this low-carbon sector to date”
    400m – 800m!!?? Say what? Don’t they know how much we tax-payers are down for?

  12. Bruce of Newcastle permalink
    April 26, 2019 11:40 pm

    Who control Bartertown?
    Master-blaster control Bartertown!
    We’re now living in a Max Max universe, powered by pig poo.

  13. Harry Passfield permalink
    April 27, 2019 1:36 pm

    This story – not of the likely scam that it is – was on R4 news today, Sat 27th. It was reported as as if it was a great idea and that it was planned to be expanded. All without any demur.

  14. April 27, 2019 4:00 pm

    There is no mention of the fact that every biogas plant run by farmers will end up leaking methane and producing “fugitive emissions”. Methane is said to be far worse than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, so why are these people not worried about that?

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