Spain to study electric connection with France alongside hydrogen pipeline

Spain and France have agreed to explore the possibility of laying an electrical connection alongside a future underwater pipeline carrying green hydrogen between the countries, Spain’s Energy Minister Teresa Ribera told Reuters on Thursday (19 January).

The Spanish government, which has criticised the country’s energy isolation from other parts of Europe, argues that improving connections with France will help enhance Europe’s energy security and facilitate achieving its climate goals.

In December, Spain said the so-called BarMar corridor between the port cities of Barcelona and Marseille is expected to cost about €2.5 billion, have a capacity of 2 million tonnes of hydrogen a year and be ready by the end of the decade.

Ribera said on Thursday that the pipeline project was “advancing very well” and that the BarMar route was also being envisaged for an undersea power cable.

“We have agreed to study the possibility of using the same path and the same public work for some of the electric interconnections we have pending (with France),” Ribera added after a bilateral summit in Barcelona, where she met with her French counterpart.

Both Spain and France have applied for European Union funding for the BarMar project.

Ribera said she believes the electric interconnection is feasible but while it would still link Barcelona and Marseille, its exact path would need to be studied.

Plans to double electricity interconnection between France and Spain suffered a setback last year when a planned undersea power cable linking the two countries through the Bay of Biscay ran into technical difficulties.

The 370km interconnector was designated in 2013 as a Project of Common Interest (PCI) by the EU and was initially expected to be completed in 2025. But an EU official said in June it was more likely to be inaugurated in 2026, while the project website suggests “2026-2027”.

Spain and France were also briefly at odds last year regarding the MidCat gas pipeline project across the Pyrenees, which Madrid sought to revive as a way of easing Europe’s energy crisis.

It was backed by Spain but rejected by France, which argued that two existing pipelines were being under-utilised.

The two countries, along with Portugal, then agreed to build a new green hydrogen corridor, dubbed H2MED, as an alternative solution.


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