Biomethane injection points
Conexus Baltic Grid is developing the first centralised biomethane injection point in the Baltics and will provide guarantees of origin for gas produced from renewable energy sources
In order to promote biomethane production in Latvia and ensure its free circulation, Conexus Baltic Grid (hereinafter - Conexus) has developed a unique solution in the Baltics, where a smart system will enable biomethane producers whose production facilities are located at a relatively long distance from the gas transmission system, to transport biomethane from the production facility to a centralised biomethane injection point (hereinafter - BMIP) in the Conexus system.
Currently, relatively few potential biomethane plants in Latvia are located close to transmission or distribution systems where a direct connection to the system is economically feasible. In order to ensure maximum development of Latvia's biomethane production potential, Conexus is developing an additional solution through the implementation of the so-called "virtual pipeline" concept. This means that the biomethane is transported from the production sites to the BMIP entry in the transmission system by the producer via public roads using trucks and high pressure (250-300 bar) methane containers. As required by the Energy Law, the biomethane injection point will be equipped with metering, quality control and remote control equipment for the biomethane injection point, that belongs to the transmission system operator for a safe injection of biomethane into the transmission system.
In 2022, Conexus identified four potential first-stage BMIPs by analysing data on the location of existing biogas plants and assessing potential biomethane production. Based on this data, Conexus conducted a public consultation, offering stakeholders the opportunity to provide their views on the draft BMIP project. Taking into account the interest expressed by stakeholders, Conexus decided to start with the BMIP in Dzukste village (Džūkste), eventually developing the other points based on the experience gained during the operation of the first BMIP. The Dzukste BMIP could serve up to twenty biomethane producers within a radius of 50 to 60 km.
Figure 1. Location of potential BMIPs
The current design of the biomethane injection point envisages that the accounting and quality control of biomethane to be injected into the system will take place at the centralised entry point, identifying the supplier, transport and cargo, with the quantity fed into the system being attributed to each specific producer. The quality of the gas at the biomethane injection point must comply with the current legal framework on quality for gas entering the system, similar to that for direct connections to the system. Conexus is currently working on a detailed process analysis, assessment and development of the BMIP operating principles. At the same time, direct connections to the interconnected gas system remain an option for biomethane producers.
Balancing of the biomethane injected the interconnected system will take place according to the existing balancing rules and principles. It is envisaged that the use of the BMIP will be subject to the same entry tariff as any other entry point to the system.
Figure 2. Timetable for the progress of the BMIP project
In parallel, Conexus continues to work on the implementation of the gas guarantee of origin system, which, according to the Energy Law, should be operational by 1 July 2023. In order to successfully set up the system, Conexus is conducting a procurement procedure for the provision of an electronic registry service for guarantees of origin and is working on the development of a national regulations also known as domain protocol for the free circulation of guarantees of origin in line with the European Energy Certificate Scheme Rules (EECS Rules). The domain protocol will include the conditions under which guarantees of origin will be issued and administered and will describe other principles for the operation of the registry of guarantees of origin. The draft domain protocol will be publicly consulted with stakeholders in the near future, as it should enter into force by 1 July 2023, but its approval will also be closely linked to compliance with the conditions and review procedures of the AIB (Association of Issuing Bodies). As the Latvian electricity sector has had a successful guarantees of origin system for several years, Conexus is working to ensure that, as far as possible, the gas guarantees of origin system operates on the same principles as the electricity sector guarantees of origin system.
Conexus will continue its work to promote the development of the gas market by providing affordable and secure infrastructure, while researching and developing solutions for sustainable gas injection, administration and transportation.