Gas grid operators in Iberia, France to join forces on green hydrogen

  • Lusa
  • 6 March 2023

The three countries' signed an agreement as part of the Green2TSO initiative, which "aims to incorporate new technologies to enable the development of [green] hydrogen in the transmission grid".

The operator of Portugal’s gas transmission network, Redes Energéticas Nacionais (REN), its counterpart in Spain, Enagás, and France’s GRTgaz and Teréga have formalised an agreement to boost the transformation of their networks with a view to transporting ‘green’ hydrogen, it was announced on Monday.

In a statement, REN said that the three countries’ transmission system operators (TSOs) had signed an agreement as part of the Green2TSO initiative, which “aims to incorporate new technologies to enable the development of [green] hydrogen in the transmission grid.”

According to REN, the initiative now formalised “highlights the role of European TSOs to become carriers of hydrogen as a vector of efficient, safe and clean energy, using their own large-scale infrastructure” and adapting existing infrastructure for this purpose.

In particular, according to the company, the agreement “is in line with the European Commission’s objectives to strengthen the European TSOs as carriers of an efficient, safe and clean energy vector, using our large-scale infrastructure”, notably given the targets for EU climate neutrality by 2050 (stipulated in the Green Ecological Pact), the reduction of EU pollutant emissions by at least 55% by 2030 (in the Goal 55 programme) as well as energy savings and supply diversification (as set out in the REPowerEU European energy plan).”

To this end, it explains, the Green2TSO consortium will carry out pilot projects, technology tests and other actions to accelerate the transformation of the natural gas grid, with priority given to the development of hydrogen detection and measurement systems, compression and above ground storage of hydrogen and alternatives for lining and cleaning of pipelines.

Since the commission financially supports some of these initiatives aligned with European Union objectives, REN also reports that a project in the area of detection and measurement of hydrogen led by the promoters of Green2TSO – called Green2TSO OPTHYCS – has already been chosen to be part-financed.

REN Gás is a company in the REN group responsible for the promotion, development and management of projects and companies in Portugal’s gas sector.

Enagás, with a similar role in Spain’s gas market, has more than 12,000 kilometres of pipelines, three underground storage facilities and eight regasification terminals.

In France, GRTgaz is responsible for operating more than 20,000 miles of pipelines to transport gas from suppliers to consumers connected to the network that it manages, while Teréga is specialised in the operation and development of natural gas transport and storage infrastructures in south-western France, operating 5,100 kilometres of pipelines.

At the end of October in Brussels, the governments of Portugal, France and Spain reached an agreement to speed up interconnections on the Iberian Peninsula, abandoning the existing project that had been intended only for natural gas and replacing it with another that envisages a maritime pipeline to be intended in the future for ‘green’ hydrogen as well as initially transporting gas.

The idea is that the new infrastructures on the Iberian Peninsula will allow the distribution of green hydrogen and that they will be technically adapted to transport other renewable gases; in an initial phase they are to be intended to carry a limited proportion of natural gas as a temporary and transitory source of energy.