Together with his French and Portuguese counterparts, the Prime Minister of Spain presented the “H2Med” energy interconnection project, the first major green corridor that will connect the Iberian Peninsula with the rest of Europe and which will be operational in 2030.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, met with the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and the Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, in Alicante to present the details of the energy interconnection project known as H2Med, the first great green corridor capable of connecting the Iberian Peninsula with the French city of Marseille. This meeting, which was attended by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, took place at EUIPO, the EU Intellectual Property Office, “another example of the European spirit of the project”, said Sánchez.
The meeting, Sánchez underlined, is a response to commitment made by the leaders of the three countries in Brussels on 20 October. At that time, the three leaders agreed to work together to set up a green energy corridor linking the Iberian Peninsula with the French city of Marseille. With that meeting, Sánchez emphasised, “we have taken a step forwards and unblocked the energy interconnection project with France and the rest of the continent”.
In this regard, Pedro Sánchez stated that the work carried out over the last month by the technical teams of the three governments has enabled the objectives of H2Med to be outlined, and specified that the project has two fundamental parts: “On one hand, the route from Portugal to Spain, specifically from Celorico da Beira to Zamora; and on the other hand, the route from Spain to France through the Mediterranean, from Barcelona to Marseille”, Sánchez explained.
Spain at the forefront of the energy transition race
Sánchez also stressed that the implementation of this corridor reiterates two commitments to which the Spanish Government has made: firstly, to strengthen energy security and the EU’s energy autonomy in a context in which, the prime minister explained, “it is essential for Europeans to show solidarity in reducing energy dependence”. Secondly, this joint project reiterates Europe’s ambition for climate neutrality. “Spain wants to be at the forefront of the race for energy transition, leading the development of renewable energies and with the vocation of being a benchmark in hydrogen as well”.
The project outlined by the leaders of Spain, France and Portugal in Alicante will be the EU’s first major hydrogen corridor. Sánchez indicated that this infrastructure could be operational by the end of this decade, and confirmed that “it will be capable of transporting 10% of the EU’s hydrogen consumption by 2030”, i.e. around 2 million tonnes per year.
The presentation of H2Med as a Project of Common Interest (PCI), which will allow the corridor to be eligible for European funding instruments such as the Connecting Europe Facility, will take place before 15 December.
On 18 May, the European Commission published the REPowerEU Plan, which includes the H2Med project. The RePowerEU Plan was born in response to the challenges and disruptions in the global energy market caused by Putin’s war. This plan, designed to make Europe independent of Russian fossil fuels by 2030, has already announced energy savings, clean energy production and diversification of our supplies among its primary objectives.
The meeting between PM Sánchez and his French and Portuguese counterparts took place in Alicante, coinciding with the ninth MED-9 Summit, which is being held this Friday in the city. In this regard, the Prime Minister of the Government of Spain stressed the desire of the countries that make up the MED-9 to turn this forum into the driving force behind a new common agenda for the Mediterranean. “An agenda,” he explained, “in which the European Union shows its commitment to the South as an area whose significance must be taken into account”.
In her statement to the media, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, underlined the suitability of this joint project. “The H2MED project is going in the right direction. It has the potential to help us build a European backbone for transporting hydrogen. We very much welcome this request, to make it a Project of Common Interest. The Iberian Peninsula,” she stressed, “is going to become one of the main energy hubs of the European Union.
Both the French Prime Minister, Emmanuel Macron, and Portuguese President, António Costa, have stated that the project is consistent with the EU’s collective strategy. Macron stressed that it responds to three objectives: ecological, industrialisation and energy autonomy. For his part, Costa reiterated that the market must continue diversifying in order to gain energy independence.
Technical specifications of the project
According to the preliminary technical specifications of the H2Med project, the section between Celorico (Portugal) and Zamora will extend over 248 kilometres. The estimated cost is 350 million euros.
With regard to the Barcelona-Marseille (France) section, the estimated cost is 2.5 billion euros for a 455-kilometre connection. As Sánchez stressed, the infrastructure as a whole will be operational by 2030.