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Interview on REGATRACE project with Dr. Attila Kovács, Secretary General - ERGaR

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

REGATRACE (REnewable GAs TRAde Centre in Europe) aims to create an efficient trade system based on issuing and trading biomethane/renewable gases Guarantees of Origin (GO). It is based on founding pillars such as setting up a European biomethane/renewable gas GO system and establishing national GO issuing bodies.

The project receives funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation and aims to integrate GOs from different renewable gas technologies with electric and hydrogen GO systems. The overall budget of REGATRACE is EUR 3 million.

The following interview with Dr. Attila Kovács (Secretary General, ERGaR) explores some of the details regarding REGATRACE project including scope, timelines and predicted impact.

The REGATRACE project started on 1 June 2019 and will continue for 3 years. Is the intention to have an up-and-running system before the end of the project in 2022? Can we expect a pilot before then?

The project has a substantially broader scope than establishing the GO trade system, it is about facilitation of the biomethane production and market uptake all over Europe. Anyway, the Europe-wide scheme for transferring/exchanging renewable gas GOs cross-border will be operational before the end of the project. Presently two such schemes are being developed parallel to each other, one by ERGaR and the other one by AIB. ERGaR and AIB have already agreed on close cooperation and coordination in this field.

Within what timeframe would you expect an operational system akin to the AIB for Guarantees of Origin to be established?

I expect that both schemes (ERGaR and AIB) will be operational by the time the Renewable Energy Directive II becomes effective.

How do you believe an operational biomethane/renewable gas system affect the current market players and what are the wider implications of such a system?

The impact of the cross-border transactions with renewable gas GOs will be quite similar to the impact of the electricity GO scheme. This comes out of the fact that the Directives define the same purpose: informing the final consumers about the renewable origin of the energy carrier.

The European Renewable Gas Registry, ERGaR has been working on a renewable gas registry, but is also part of the REGATRACE project. What is the role of ERGaR in the project? Is ERGaR still pursuing a separate registry, or will perhaps their efforts be put toward a unified registry under the REGATRACE project?

ERGaR’s name is probably a bit misleading. We are not establishing a single all-European biomethane/renewable gas registry. We are building a system of the network of national biomethane/renewable gas registries communicating with each other via a central hub operated by ERGaR. The concept is quite similar to AIB’s, the national biomethane registries act as issuing bodies for specified and harmonised certificates (including GOs). The main differences in comparison with renewable electricity is that ERGaR handles also biofuel qualified (sustainability verified) biomethane, applies the mass balancing methodology and relies on the natural gas TSOs and DSOs as primary source of grid injection data.