The hydrogen corridor that will turn Spain into a European powerhouse

13 November, 2023

Updated: 28 nov 2023

 

Hydrogen transport will play a crucial role in the development of a value chain around this new energy vector that joins a wide range of available renewable energies to contribute to a net-zero horizon.

The European Union is committed to the development of corridors that transport hydrogen from the areas where this energy is produced to the places where it is consumed. Although there are different forms of transport, the hydrogen pipelines are positioned as one of the most efficient forms of transport in terms of capacity, safety and sustainability.

REPowerEU

The REPowerEU plan sets a 2030 consumption target of 20 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen in Europe, of which 10 million tonnes must be produced domestically.

And while some countries in Europe have full access to the renewable resource for the production of this energy carrier, it does not always coincide with those places that need this hydrogen. This European strategy therefore recognises the need to develop renewable hydrogen supply corridors, which will play a key role in matching supply and demand within the EU, while contributing to security of supply, energy independence and energy transition.

Spain possesses multiple strengths that could enable it to become a benchmark in both hydrogen production and exportation

REPowerEU identifies those which would be the five main European hydrogen corridors, and in this approach, the Iberian Corridor, known as H2Med ─ and promoted by Spain, Portugal, France and Germany─ is strategic.

In this context, Spain possesses multiple strengths that could allow it to become a reference in both hydrogen production and exports: a large renewable generation capacity, an excellent geographical position and climate, a robust gas infrastructure network, which could be the starting point for the future hydrogen network, and a growing domestic demand, with a chemical and petrochemical industry consolidated as a potential consumer of this hydrogen.

H2Med

H2Med has been included in the list of Projects of Common Interest (PCI) of the European Union in November 2023 and will link the Iberian Peninsula with the rest of the European Union, with connections to Portugal from Zamora and to France from Barcelona.

H2Med and the national networks of the different countries will form a transport system from Southern Europe to Germany

Enagás, together with the gas system operators of Portugal, France and Germany ─in order, REN, GRTgaz, Teréga and OGE,─ is the Spanish company participating in this project, an example of cooperation in European energy matters. It will have the capacity to transport up to 2 million tonnes per year by 2030, an amount equivalent to 10% of the consumption forecast for Europe as a whole in that year.

H2Med and the national networks of the different countries will form a transport system from southern Europe to Germany, which could supply renewable hydrogen from the Iberian Peninsula to North-West Europe.

Spanish Hydrogen Backbone

Enagás, in its vision as a possible future Hydrogen Network Operator (HNO), has also developed a proposal to establish a network of basic hydrogen infrastructures in the country. This Spanish Hydrogen Backbone, planned for 2030, includes two hubs and two storage facilities, also included in the European Union’s PCIs list:

  1. The axis connecting the Cantabrian Coast, the Ebro Valley and Levante, with an approximate length of 1,500 kilometres linking Asturias, Cantabria, Basque Country, La Rioja, Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia and Murcia.
  2. The Vía de la Plata (Silver Route) axis, with 1,250 kilometres, which would link Asturias, Castilla y León, Extremadura and Andalusia, as well as a connection to Puertollano, in Castilla-La Mancha. Enagás is also the promoter of the Guititiz-Zamora hydrogen pipeline, which will be resubmitted to the next call for PCI in 2024.
  3. Two hydrogen storage facilities with a combined capacity of 575 GWh located in Cantabria and the Basque Country.

Enagás is analysing the results of the Call For Interest process carried out between September and November 2023. The concrete vision of the market provided by this consultation will allow the network proposal to be adjusted to the PCIs and those sections that prove to be necessary will be modified and added.

Thanks to these infrastructures, Spain can take advantage of a historic opportunity to take the lead in the production, transport and export of what will be one of the most important vectors in the decarbonisation of the economy, renewable hydrogen.