German OGE comes onboard H2Med green hydrogen pipeline project

German gas grid operator Open Grid Europe (OGE) has joined its Spanish, French, and Portuguese counterparts as a promoter of the European H2Med green hydrogen project.

Courtesy of Enagás

During the event ‘H2Med, an example of European energy cooperation’ at the Spanish Embassy in Berlin, OGE signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the transmission system operators (TSOs) of Spain (Enagás), France (GRTgaz and Teréga), and Portugal (REN) to promote the H2Med project and correspondent corridor.

OGE’s support, as well as for the associated hydrogen transport infrastructures in each of these countries has now been materialized with the signing of the MoU.

The event, which was attended by representatives of the governments and TSOs from Portugal, Spain, France, and Germany, as well as the European Commission and German industry, was held to highlight the key role of H2Med in meeting the European REPowerEU targets of the European Union.

This project, submitted to the call for European Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) in December 2022, includes a connection between Celorico da Beira in Portugal and Zamora in Spain (CelZa), and a maritime connection between Barcelona and Marseille (BarMar).

Courtesy of Enagás

H2Med will transport green hydrogen produced in Spain and Portugal, supplying northwest European countries, mainly Germany, with up to two million tons, representing 10% of the total consumption target for Europe set by REPowerEU.

At the event in Germany, representatives of the European Union and the governments of Germany, France, and Spain expressed their support for the development of H2Med as the first large-scale green corridor that will connect the Iberian Peninsula with northwest Europe.

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The event also noted the positive progress made by the H2Med project and the projects associated with the corridor of which it is a part in the process of acquiring the qualification as PCI.

The European Commission said it will publish its proposed PCI list in November 2023, which will be confirmed in early 2024 by Parliament and the Council. From then on, the projects would be eligible for receiving CEF-E funds for studies and construction, which would allow work to be expedited to guarantee the start of construction in 2026 and its entry into operation in 2030.

Frank Reiners, CFO of OGE stated: “A hydrogen pipeline connecting Portugal, Spain, France and Germany represents more than just a vital hydrogen import corridor. It symbolizes a powerful bridge toward a sustainable future. It connects the most efficient regions for hydrogen production with the regions where it is most needed, it fosters international collaboration, harnessing the potential of clean energy to enable progress, and unites our countries in a common pursuit: to reach the European target of climate neutrality by 2050”.

The CEO of Enagás, Arturo Gonzalo, said that “the incorporation of OGE into H2Med is key because it means that in addition to having the support of the governments of Portugal, France, Spain and Germany, the TSOs of the four countries will work together to make the project a reality”.