Current regulations put a “disproportionate burden” on low-flow biomethane sites injecting into the gas network, according to the Energy Networks Association (ENA).

The group has issued a consultation to gather industry views on the current regime, which it says is “costly and complex” and acts as a barrier to biomethane producers entering the industry.

“The interest of both existing and future users of the network could be protected through agreements between gas distribution networks (GDNs) and the biomethane producers, as set out in the legally binding Network Entry Agreements,” the ENA said.

A Network Entry Agreement is a contract which sets out the technical and operational conditions for a new connection, and defines how the network entry facility will operate.

The consultation proposes three options regarding the regulatory regime: no change to the current arrangements; a modified Ofgem letter of direction; or the removal of requirement for Ofgem to direct low-flow biomethane sites.

Once the views on the proposals have been gathered from gas shippers, suppliers, consumer groups, and biomethane developers and producers, the findings will “help Ofgem make an independent decision in relation to this issue”.

ENA chief executive David Smith pointed out that the injection of green gas into the network can play an “important role” in meeting the “significant challenge of decarbonising UK heat, cooking and transport”.

“Simplification of the current regulatory regime for low-flow biomethane producers can contribute to continued growth in this area and support the government’s policy targets for renewable heat and low carbon energy, whilst ensuring there is no detriment to the existing levels of consumer protection,” he said.

National Grid connected up its first biomethane plant in October 2013, and began delivering renewable gas through its network in December the same year.

In February 2014, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) conducted a review of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) biomethane injection tariff to address concerns that biomethane-to-grid plants are overcompensated under the current regime.

In May, the Renewable Energy Association suggested that the RHI biomethane tariff review could “halt” the development of the green gas sector in the UK.

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