Spain aspires to capture more than a fifth of the European production of green hydrogen in 2030 |  Economy

Spain aspires to capture more than a fifth of the European production of green hydrogen in 2030 | Economy

The CEO of Enagás, Arturo Gonzalo, during the conference held this Thursday in Madrid.
The CEO of Enagás, Arturo Gonzalo, during the conference held this Thursday in Madrid.ENAGAS (Europa Press)

The manager of the Spanish gas system, Enagás, in which the State participates, believes that Spain will be able to reach a production of between two and three million tons of green hydrogen by the end of this decade. Given that the European Union has the goal of being able to produce 10 million tons of this gas per year by 2030, half of its total needs, Spain would be able to contribute more than a fifth of the total generation on the continent. Most of these Spanish exports should flow to the rest of the continent through the BarMar, the hydroduct that will connect the Iberian Peninsula and France.

In 2040, according to figures from a joint study by Enagás and the consulting firm PwC presented this Thursday within the framework of a single-theme conference on the emergence of green hydrogen, Spanish production should be around three or four million tons per year. The definitive takeoff, however, will take place in the following decade: by 2050, according to the most recent figures from the European Hydrogen Backbone —an initiative of the entire sector on a continental scale—, the Iberian Peninsula should be generating 33 million tons annual. Of these, 27 million could be dedicated to export, once domestic needs are covered.

To achieve that goal, the development of a transportation infrastructure is essential. In this area, the BarMar stands out, with an estimated investment of 2,135 million euros; and CelZa, another cross-border tube between the towns of Celorico da Beira (Portugal) and Zamora (Spain) that will cost around 350 million. But there is more: this Thursday, Enagás has estimated the necessary investment in the internal axes necessary to distribute all the internal production of hydrogen to the points of export (3,500 million) and for two storage centers in two saline cavities in Cantabria at 4,670 million and the Basque Country (1,170 million). All these projects have already been presented by the company to the European Commission to obtain financing and calls for those interested in their construction will be opened in the coming months.

In its latest strategic plan, presented last summer, Enagás already estimated the necessary investment in infrastructure to make this new renewable hydrogen economy possible in Spain at almost 4,800 million. According to his most recent count, more than 30% of Spanish gas pipelines are reusable as hydroducts.

European hub

“Europe and, especially, Spain, are in a privileged situation. 20% of the world’s renewable hydrogen projects are in Spain”, underlined the Secretary of State for Energy of the Spanish Government, Sara Aagesen, at the opening of the event. Only the United States is ahead in that table. “Together with Germany, we are the European country and the seventh country in the world that has invested the most in renewables in recent years. That puts us in an excellent position to be a hub Renewable Hydrogen International.

“If 2022 has been the year of energy security, 2023 is going to be the year of renewable hydrogen”, confided the CEO of Enagás, Arturo Gonzalo. “We have everything to be the first hub of hydrogen in Europe: renewable generation potential, robust infrastructures and industrial capacities”. Electricity of green origin —in huge quantities— is, together with water, the key ingredient for the production of this gas, called to play a key role in the decarbonization of industry and heavy transport.

The highest representative of the Community Executive at the conference, the Director General of Energy of the European Commission, Cristina Lobillo, has confirmed that both hydrogen and BarMar, a fundamental infrastructure for its distribution from the Peninsula to the rest of the Old Continent, are ” a priority” for Brussels.

For her part, the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs and Climate Action of the German Government, Franziska Brantner, has highlighted the importance of green hydrogen for the largest European economy, called to be the great buyer of Spanish hydrogen. “It has many purposes for us and, beyond our own production, we will need to import from other European neighbours, countries that are friends and that share our values”, she highlighted Brantner. The availability of green electricity, water and transport infrastructure are not the only elements necessary for the definitive hatching of hydrogen: “There will be a shortage of electrolysers [las máquinas indispensables para su generación]”, has predicted. “We are already promoting its manufacture to prevent that from happening.”

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