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    Brussels wants to resuscitate Midcat through green hydrogen


    May 26, 2022 - CE Noticias Financieras

     

      The European Commission is already studying the future of energy connections between the EU-27, closing its gas pipelines with Russia and opening new routes, with "more reliable" suppliers and the support of renewables. And one of the plans being studied is to recover the reviled and almost buried Midcat project, but with a facelift: transporting green hydrogen instead of gas.

      According to the European Commission's plan, made public last week, which estimates that E210 billion will be needed to invest in disconnecting Russian energy, new infrastructure will have to be built or existing infrastructure accelerated. "Additional investments to connect liquefied natural gas import terminals in the Iberian Peninsula and the EU grid through hydrogen-ready infrastructures can contribute to diversify gas supply," reads the Executive's document. In fact, the government of Pedro Sanchez has been insisting for weeks on the potential that Spain could have to become one of the countries exporting green hydrogen and in which Midcat could play an important role.

      Community calculations put the investment needs for hydrogen at between 28,000 and 38,000 million euros for internal EU pipelines, which could include the Midcat, paralyzed since 2018 in the vicinity of Hostalric. "To facilitate the import of up to ten million tons of renewable hydrogen, the Commission will support the development of three major hydrogen import corridors through the Mediterranean, the North Sea area and, as soon as conditions allow, Ukraine," the Executive explains.

      Enagas and Snam have signed an agreement to analyze the feasibility of the gas pipeline with Italy.

      The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, praised Spain's role recently for its commitment to this energy, recalling that "in the first three months of the year, 20% of the new renewable hydrogen projects in the world were produced in Spain. That is impressive," he said.

      The other issue also covered by the plan is the improvement of interconnections. Despite having allowed Spain and Portugal to have an exception precisely because of their low level of interconnection with the rest of Europe and thus be able to limit the price of gas in the wholesale market, it does not mean that the situation should remain this way. Firstly, because the measure is temporary, for twelve months, and, secondly, because interconnections are still a pending issue.

      According to the European Commission, an additional 29 billion euros of investments are needed in the electricity grid between now and 2030 in order to adapt it to greater electricity use and production. In fact, Brussels argues that the current high electricity prices in the Iberian Peninsula "underline the importance of improving electricity interconnections".

      According to the Commission, an additional 29 billion is needed in the electricity grid between now and 2030.

      However, the European Commission not only has in mind the connection between Spain and France, but also the one that would link the Peninsula with Italy, which would be a new gas pipeline that would connect Barcelona with Livorno, and whose idea has been supported by the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi.

      According to experts in the sector, it would involve an investment of at least 3,000 million euros and would be capable of transporting gas between the two countries, but could also carry green hydrogen in the future, and this is included in the Commission's plans. For the moment, an agreement has been signed between the Spanish

      Enagas and the Italian Snam to analyze and carry out a preliminary study to check its feasibility. If approved, the transalpine company estimates that it would have a capacity of 30,000 cubic meters per year.

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