Biogas 2023 economic dialogue

Biogas business dialogue:
Biogas wanted abroad – neglected in German politics?

Gescher. The “Biogas Business Dialogue” took place today at the PlanET Biogas Group, organised by the NRW Renewable Energy Association, the Biogas Trade Association, the state company NRW.Energy4Climate and leading biogas companies in North Rhine-Westphalia. Under the motto “Biogas – an opportunity for the regional economy”, representatives from politics and business discussed the future of the biogas industry in Germany.
Dr Thomas Griese, member of the LEE board, emphasised the indispensable role of biogas for security of supply. However, he criticised the Grand Coalition’s standstill until 2021 and called for a nationwide summit of the ministries to untie the knot. Hendrik Becker, shareholder of the PlanET Biogas Group, noted that biogas is receiving little attention from politicians in Germany, while companies are moving abroad, where there is increased investment in biogas.

Despite international recognition of German biogas technology, the volatile policy is attracting more and more companies abroad. The German companies emphasised that biogas not only creates jobs, but also represents a sustainable source of energy for regional industry.

The attendees presented two impressive examples of biogas plants from NRW. Although both plants were started years ago, they have developed further with the help of local companies: instead of renewable raw materials, more and more liquid manure and dung is now being used in the plants, and biodiversity is being increased through the cultivation of flowering and wild plants. The biogas is used to operate decentralised and highly efficient CHP plants that supply entire communities with electricity and heat. Or the biogas is upgraded to natural gas quality and fed into the natural gas grid as biomethane and used as fuel for cars, lorries and tractors. No wonder that German biogas technology is in demand abroad. Wherever new plants are built, jobs are also created with the plant constructors, the biogas plants themselves or the service companies. “In recent years, we have hired more employees abroad or in Germany for foreign business than for business in Germany,” emphasises Hendrik Becker. The same applies to suppliers and competitors, who also presented their companies to the politicians in attendance.

The German biogas companies fear a similar development to that of solar and wind power plants, where jobs are moving abroad, and appealed to politicians to take countermeasures in order to maintain Germany’s competitiveness. Dr Markus Pieper from the CDU and MEP emphasised the opportunities offered at European level by RED2, while Katrin Uhlig from the Greens announced that the consultation on the biomass strategy would be followed by changes to the EEG. Politician Nadine Heselhaus from the SPD emphasised the importance of jobs in companies such as 2G in Heek and Huesker Synthetic in Gescher. The FDP reported that a motion on biogas had been rejected in the state parliament.

In total, the companies present from NRW employ several thousand people directly and indirectly, which points to the need to strengthen the biogas sector in Germany. The discussion ended with an appeal to continue the dialogue with society and politics and to recognise the opportunities of biogas as a key role in a climate-neutral energy system.

The host summed up: “Biogas offers opportunities for the regional economy and we must continue the dialogue – a new start was made today.”

PlanET a strong brand. The PlanET Biogas Group, with its subsidiaries in Germany, France, the USA, Canada and Brazil and around 400 employees, now has an annual turnover of around 150 million euros. With 700+ biogas and 90+ biomethane plants built, PlanET is one of the world leaders in the biogas industry. PlanET stands for market-leading expertise in the areas of conceptual design, engineering, approval, plant construction, biological and technical service, process optimisation and repowering.

Press contact:
Katharina Schmitz-Altrogge
Head of Marketing
PlanET Biogastechnik GmbH
k.schmitz@planet-biogas.com planet-biogas.com