Developments Gas to Energy
Suriname has a role to play
Amsterdam, March 1st, 2023 — Until 2027, more than €60 billion in European Union money will go to Spain and Portugal for investments in green energy.
The governments in Madrid and Lisbon are lobbying for even more. They think they have good reasons for this. According to calculations by the International Energy Agency, the Iberian Peninsula is the cheapest place in Europe to produce green hydrogen. In the northern half of Europe, making a kilogram of hydrogen costs between 3 and 4 euros. In Spain and Portugal about 2 euros.
The countries are asking the EU to also contribute to the so-called H2Med pipeline of Portugal and Spain, which runs under the Mediterranean Sea to Marseille in France.
Two million tons of green hydrogen can be transported to France annually through this pipeline. Later the pipeline should be extended to Germany.
The pipeline will not open until 2030. Not only because the construction of the 455-kilometre long pipeline is time-consuming, but also because safety must be improved even further. There are currently still risks associated with the transport and storage of hydrogen.
The Netherlands does not want to wait for Iberian green hydrogen to flow north via a pipeline. Hence the agreements on the shipping route from southern Spain to the port of Rotterdam.
The Spanish hydrogen may offer a solution for steel producer Tata Steel in IJmuiden. That company is now the largest CO₂ emitter in the Netherlands, but promised the government to go green. Tata was present at the visit to Puertollano last week, but has not yet made any concrete agreements.
“We are looking at all options,” said a Tata spokesperson. ‘Of course to the wind farms in the North Sea. If we cannot get enough from there to achieve the goals, then we also want to have other options. That is why we have looked at how we can import hydrogen from there in Spain.’
More gas than can be exported
Spain and Portugal also have a special position in Europe in the field of gas. Together they have seven LNG installations, factories in which liquefied gas is converted back into gas that can be used by households and companies.
This means that one in three operating LNG installations in the EU is currently located on the Iberian Peninsula. Including the largest in Europe, in Barcelona. Liquid LNG comes via pipelines from Morocco and Algeria and by ship from Nigeria and the US. LNG production in Spain and Portugal can play an important role in becoming independent from Russian gas. The capacity of the Spanish LNG plants is not fully used. Spain wants to make the LNG installations run faster, but cannot dispose of all that gas. The Pyrenees are in the way. Spain has been advocating for years for a pipeline through the Pyrenees, the MidCat connection. If the plan had been set in motion when it was first presented, the pipeline could have opened in 2020, but France opposes it. Allegedly to protect its own nuclear power exports.
Support for constructing the MidCat is increasing. Germany has been strongly in favor since the war in Ukraine. Chancellor Olaf Scholz wants the pipeline to be extended to Germany. For example, the pressure on France to tackle this question is increasing.