Madrid, Dec. 7. Spain, France and Portugal will meet tomorrow in the Spanish city of Alicante (southeast) to advance the development of the H2Med green hydrogen submarine corridor, initially baptized as BarMar, a project that will be presented to the European Commission (EC) on December 15.
The meeting, which will be attended by the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez; the French Prime Minister, Emmanuel Macron, and the Portuguese Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, as well as the President of the EC, Ursula von der Leyen, will be held in parallel to the IX Euro-Mediterranean Summit (EUMED9), postponed since September due to Sánchez's positive coronavirus test.
In the energy field, the meeting will serve to finalize the final details on H2Med, a hydroproduct that will transport green hydrogen between the Spanish city of Barcelona (east) and Marseilles (southeast France), agreed in October by the leaders of these three countries as an alternative to the trans-Pyrenean MidCat project, which was rejected by the French government.
However, the technical and financial details of the project are still unknown, as well as the deadlines for its operation, although sources from the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge point to 2030 as the most feasible date for its implementation.
Although a construction period of between four and five years was initially considered, the processing of trans-European infrastructures can take between one and two years, a period to which must be added the final approval of the countries and its definitive construction.
Although the deadlines are not as quick as those offered by MidCat, the Spanish government's intention, as recently explained by its third vice-president, Teresa Ribera, is to present the project to the European Commission before December 15 in order to be eligible for European funding.
Specifically, Ribera cited the possibility of benefiting from the 'Connecting Europe Facility' program (Connecting Europe Mechanism), funds that the European Union allocates to implement the trans-European energy networks policy.
This program, in the case of new infrastructures, only offers financing to those projects that only transport hydrogen, so the connection that Spain, France and Portugal intend to promote will not be able to transport natural gas.
The Spanish government's objective is to get the EC to finance around 50 % of the project, since this type of aid usually allows obtaining a Community contribution of between 30 % and 50 % of the final cost.
KEY FOR EUROPE
The project - which, according to experts, could allow Spain to position itself as a reference in Europe and in a privileged situation to take advantage of the economic opportunities offered by renewable hydrogen - would be key to increase European security of supply in a context marked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
At the same time, this infrastructure will respond to the historical claim of Spain and Portugal to put a definitive end to the energy isolation that the Iberian Peninsula has historically suffered, plagued by interconnection problems with the rest of its European partners.
It is estimated that H2Med can transport up to 10% of the total renewable hydrogen target set by Brussels in the 'RePower EU' plan, which was presented last May and establishes a target of 20 million tons of renewable hydrogen by 2030. EFE