Christmas gift from the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to the governments of Spain and Portugal, predicting that both countries will play a very important role in the new European energy map. “The Iberian Peninsula will be hub of energy in Europe”, Von del Leyen stated yesterday at the official presentation of the H2Med project, the Mediterranean hydrogen corridor, held in Alicante.
They can be interpreted as courteous words to treat the ears of the host. You can do that reading and you will be right. But there is something else. Normatively, Von der Leyen had no obligation to be in Alicante yesterday. Let’s see why.
Three countries of the European Union, Spain, France and Portugal, met to ratify the hydrogen transport project by means of an underwater conduction between the ports of Barcelona and Marseille, with the annex of a new terrestrial energy connection between Spain and Portugal to the height of the province of Zamora, before presenting it at the window of the European Commission on December 15, in accordance with the deadlines established in the RepowerEU plan, which aims to set up a European energy shield in the face of the dire consequences of the war from Ukraine.
Valued at 2,500 million euros, the project must be analyzed by the Commission’s technicians to establish if it deserves to be subsidized at 50%. If so, the European Union will contribute 1,250 million euros so that H2Med becomes one of the first European corridors for the transport of hydrogen, the new fuel of the 21st century, according to its most enthusiastic supporters.
Macron, conciliatory, opens the door to the entry of Italy into the H2Med: possible connection with Livorno
The president of the court traveled to Alicante yesterday to support the candidate before the exam. Ursula von der Leyen made a political gesture. She supported the project, support for the understanding between various European countries to face the serious problems posed by the energy transition, complicated and aggravated by the war in Ukraine. Support for the ambitious idea of turning the Iberian Peninsula into one of the new energy pivots in Europe, not only as a gas distributor (thanks to its eight regasification stations), not only as an exporter of electricity, but also as a future factory of green hydrogen .
Von der Leyen expressed himself in English but thought in German. The possibility that the Iberian Peninsula is a new hub of energy is a pleasing idea to Germany, which seeks to diversify its sources of supply and does not want to depend on French nuclear energy, nor on American liquefied gas, in the same way that it has depended on Russian gas in the last thirty years. For that reason, Germany supported the resumption of the Midcat pipeline.
It would have been interesting to read the thought of Emmanuel Macron hearing the wish from the President of the European Commission. Artificial Intelligence techniques have not yet taken that step, but everything will come. It is not necessary to resort to AI to know that France intends to be the new great pivot of energy in Europe, once it has recovered and improved all the productive power of its nuclear park, today diminished by serious maintenance problems in at least 15 of its 56 reactors. France wants to be Germany’s energy aid with the sale of electricity and pink hydrogen (hydrogen without carbon footprint made with atomic energy). For France, the H2Med project is an axis of cooperation with Spain and Portugal, but it can also be a means of exporting pink hydrogen to the south, if within ten years the Spanish and Portuguese fail to manufacture large surpluses of green hydrogen with renewable electricity. The H2Med is being projected so that it can transport 10% of the hydrogen consumption without a carbon footprint throughout Europe: two million tons per year in 2030. Will Spain and Portugal be able to generate it?
It would also have been interesting to read the thought of Giorgia MeloniPrime Minister of Italy, who also envisions a future leading role for her country hub of energy, thanks to its good relations with Algeria and Egypt. Meloni was unable to travel to Alicante yesterday thanks to a timely flu that saved her from having to pout the President of the French Republic, who had denied her a brief bilateral meeting. There is once again a lot of tension between Italy and France regarding the reception of NGO ships with immigrants on board. Macron is angry at the way the Italian government handled the latest episode, in November. New episodes may be near. Immigration was not a topic yesterday in Alicante and Pedro Sanchez With a volcano erupting in Spanish politics, a volcano called Malversación, he breathed a sigh of relief.
Meloni absent (due to flu) from the Alicante meeting, in full tension with France over immigration
Macron sent Meloni a pain reliever, as he opened the door to the possibility of Italy joining the H2Net project. The hypothesis remains open that the tube between Barcelona and Marseille has a branch that leads to the port of Livorno. (Final note: once completed, the H2Med will technically be able to carry gas)