Germany has just announced its adhesion to the project today known as H2Med (and before BarMar) that will link the Iberian Peninsula with France and now with Germany through a tube to transport green hydrogen. The involvement of the main European power in the project launched by the presidents of Spain, France and Portugal at the summit held in Alicante in December represents an important boost to the development of a key infrastructure to advance the energy decarbonisation model that promotes the European Union. But it also reinforces the European project itself, since the intention is that the tube does not end in German territory, but in the future continues through central and eastern Europe. H2Med thus becomes the first green hydrogen corridor in the EU, which will strengthen its security and autonomy in the energy field, two fundamental aspects that the war in Ukraine has highlighted. It is estimated that by 2030 it could transport 10% of all demand in the EU and its cost will be around 2,500 million euros, to which another 4,670 million will have to be added for infrastructure in the Iberian Peninsula.
Germany is caught between the need to advance in the decarbonisation of its economy or to guarantee the energy supply demanded by industry and transport to ensure its operation. Today the leading European power, with the Greens in the coalition government, has been forced to extend the operation of two nuclear power plants and use coal to supply the electricity its economy demands. Berlin adopted a national hydrogen strategy in 2020, but it is moving slowly in approving the legislative reforms that make possible the necessary investments to convert the current gas networks, as German operators have warned. The country’s environmental agency (UBA) says Germany should bring new renewable capacity online three times faster than it has been doing so far. Only then will it be able to reach 2030 with 80% clean energy in the electricity mix, as has been proposed.
For Spain and Portugal, the project responds to the historical claim to put an end to the energy isolation suffered by the Iberian Peninsula. It is now possible to hope that the different administrations involved speed up the deadlines and thus reinforce the cohesion of the EU as a truly federal project.