The Energy Ministries of Austria, Germany and Italy signed a joint letter of support for the development of a “Southern Hydrogen Corridor” in the European Union.
The associated infrastructure projects will thus be supported in obtaining the status of a project of common interest (PCI). The transmission system operators (TSOs) Snam in Italy, Trans Austria Gasleitung (TAG) and Gas Connect Austria (GCA) in Austria as well as bayernets in Germany welcome this important political step.
The Southern Hydrogen Corridor “SoutH2-Corridor” is 3,300 km long and is being developed by four major European transmission system operators: Snam, TAG, GCA and bayernets. The corridor connects North Africa, Italy, Austria and Germany and will thus supply important European demand clusters with competitive renewable hydrogen from the southern Mediterranean region.
SoutH2Corridor covers more than 40% of the REPowerEU import target
With a hydrogen import capacity of more than 4 million tonnes per year from North Africa, the corridor could meet 40% of the REPowerEU import target. The initiative focuses on the use of existing natural gas infrastructure converted to hydrogen transport, possibly including additional new constructions. A high share of converted existing pipelines (more than 70%) enables cost-effective to transport, while access to low-cost renewable hydrogen production sites (wind and solar) in North Africa is beneficial for industries with difficult-to-avoid emissions.
The development of the SoutH2 corridor, which is part of an interconnected and diversified European “hydrogen backbone”, will also contribute significantly to the security of supply. The SoutH2 corridor, which is expected to be fully operational as early as 2030, consists of the following individual PCI project candidates:
– “Italian H2 Backbone” by Snam Rete Gas
– “H2 Readiness of the TAG pipeline system” by Trans Austria Gasleitung GmbH
– “H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West” by Gas Connect Austria GmbH
– “HyPipe Bavaria – The Hydrogen Hub” by bayernets GmbH
Each TSO individually submitted applications for projects of common interest (PCI) under the TEN-E Regulation to the EU Commission in December 2022. The projects “H2 Backbone WAG + Penta West” by Gas Connect Austria and “H2 Readiness of the TAG pipeline system” by Trans Austria Gasleitung GmbH are strategically valuable investments in Austria’s energy future, which can be realised with the existing gas infrastructure. However, in order for the project to be realised, a lot of public support is still needed.