ISAAC Increasing Social Awarness and ACceptance of biogas and biomethane
Goal: The main scope of the project ISAAC is the removal of non-technical barriers to widespread production and use of biogas/biomethane in Italy.
The goal is to establish biogas and bio-methane as viable and attractive options for investors, farmers or foresters, waste and energy companies/utilities and governments, thanks to several opportunities, such as the injection into the national gas grid and the use as fuel for transportation or cogenerative power plants.
Although Italy is the second European biogas producer after Germany, counting more than 1200 plants and a total installed electricity of more than 1000 MWel (according to data from GreenGasGrids project, October 2014 and energies-renouvelables.org) and still has a great potential for biogas production and market expansion, there are some non-technical barriers that prevent a more widespread diffusion of the anaerobic digestion (AD). One of the most important non-technical barrier for biogas development in Italy is the social barrier as well as the NIMBY Syndrome: hundreds of civil protest groups were born everywhere in Italy and in 2013 a national coordination committee was established in central Italy against biogas plants. Often, in Italian territories we can find at local level a lack of transparency in the decision process, low involvement and information for locals, underestimation of social effects, environmental and health impact, political adverse positions, doubts on private investments on issues directly affecting citizens’ life. This causes a general opposition to biogas, often without any scientific support, that provoke the project failure.
A non-exhaustive list of them is reported below:
a) Social barriers:
Lack of information on the biogas and biomethane production among citizens, farmers and foresters;
Resistance by citizens and local administrations against the construction of new AD plants;
Lack of interaction between different stakeholders;
Reluctance of farmers, especially in Southern Italy, to cooperate in energy plants management. Many small farms don’t produce enough biomass to feed a digester or can’t invest big resources; the aim is to put together producer to collect larger quantities of biomass and maximize economic advantages and energy efficiency.
b) Legislative barriers:
Lack of a clear national legislation for grid injection of biomethane and for the use of digestate;
Fragmentation and multiplicity of regulatory framework on authorization and installation procedures.
c) Economic barriers:
Lack of specific and efficient schemes of financing;
• Low profitability of small biogas and uncertainty about future incentive schemes.
- Apr 2018