Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez speaking to French President Emanuel Macron and Portuguese PM Antonio Costa last week, Source: Governo de Portugal

European Commission warms up to Barcelona-Marseille green energy pipeline idea

European Commission warms up to Barcelona-Marseille green energy pipeline idea

Out with MidCat, in with BarMar

The European Commission has expressed cautious optimism and support for the newest energy infrastructure initiative on the continent, called BarMar green energy pipeline.

Last week, the leaders of Portugal, Spain and France agreed to build the new pipeline, which will connect the Iberian Peninsula to the European energy market. The project took its name from the two port hubs that will serve as the terminal points for the sub-marine pipeline – Barcelona and Marseille.

BarMar is meant to replace the previous MidCat project, which was also a pipeline meant to bring gas from Africa to Europe via Catalonia. The new infrastructure, however, is much more palatable to leaders as it corresponds to the goals for the energy transition in addition to the provision of energy independence from unreliable suppliers like Russia.

Hydrogen rather than gas

MidCat was Promoted by Spain and Portugal with the support of Germany, which consumes a lot of gas and has urgent supply needs. It was however opposed by the French government. Paris saw it as expensive infrastructure, possibly requiring years of construction and without strategic value, given EU commitments to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

The BarMar, on the other hand, seems to be more aligned with the energy transition plans. The pipeline will in fact be used to transport green hydrogen (a fuel that does not emit greenhouse gases, produced by renewable electricity) and other renewable gases such as biomethane.

The new corridor could take 5 to 7 years to build, and for a short period of time, the BarMar will also carry a "limited amount" of natural gas to alleviate the European supply crisis.

European leaders are awaiting the technical details of the project to evaluate whether the proposal can receive EU funding, as was announced today by energy spokesperson Tim McPhie, during the Commission's daily midday briefing.

European legislation allows institutions to fund projects related to hydrogen, as opposed to fossil fuels.



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