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Wednesday, May 25, 2022
HomeLatest NewsDraghi ahead of Sanchez in EU clean hydrogen leadership

Draghi ahead of Sanchez in EU clean hydrogen leadership

“Two months ago we opened a green hydrogen plant in Lloset (in the Balearic Islands). This project allowed us to transform an old abandoned cement plant into a true green energy industrial hub. Our plan is to continue this example“. These words were uttered by President Sanchez in an act in which he did not want to miss the opportunity to emphasize the importance of green hydrogen for Spain. Although the European funds have as their goal the transformation of the economy of the countries of the Union, they have an implicit “green” component in said development, which has pushed various members to quickly compete for projects to seduce Europe and to be able to establish itself as a renewable energy powerhouse.

From the executive branch, they understand the importance of leading the ecological transition in Europe. They do not want to lose the advantage they have over other member countries of the Union in terms of renewable energy. Thus, this week the Minister for Ecological Transition wanted to get ahead of the rest of the European partners and sent a letter to Brussels asking the European Commission to give priority to green hydrogen from Spain, because, as he claims, in our country it can be produced competitively. “Spain has an ambitious plan that will see green hydrogen as the key to achieving climate neutrality and a fully renewable electricity system by 2050 at the latest, as well as becoming a leader in this technology in Europe.”

However, they have another competitor lurking, which seems to have become a leader in promoting this clean gas: Italy Mario Draghi. The former president of the Central Bank, who, after landing in the Chigi Palace, brought extraordinary stability to the chaotic Italian politics, among his goals is the promotion of this hydrocarbon from his country. A little over a month ago, during his visit to Algiers, he assured that “Italy is ready to develop renewable energy and green hydrogen. We want to accelerate the energy transition and create development and employment opportunities.” Declaration of the President of Italy of the intention to present his country as a candidate for the role of leader in the field of green energy in the EU.

The pulse of Sanchez and Draghi for the introduction of green hydrogen in Europe.Europe Press

Italy has two tricks in favor of Spain in this fight. First, its president, Draghi, continues to be a figure highly respected in Brussels offices for its transcendent role in the 2008 crisis. On the other hand, the neighboring country became priority partner of Algeriawhich today is one of the big guarantees that Europe should receive gas, left without a reliable ally in the supply of this hydrocarbon because of the current conflict with Russia.

That same week and the day before Minister Ribera sent her letter, the Algerian ambassador in Rome was interviewed by an Italian media outlet to confirm that his country was going to become a green hydrogen “hub”; and pointed to Italy as the main beneficiary. Thus, the North African country, which has not forgotten President Sanchez’s diplomatic turn towards Morocco, is seeking to play its part in European energy policy and is sending a pressure signal to the EU in favor of Italy.

But these two advantages that the trans-Alpine country has do not mean a lost battle for the executive branch. Spain has shown its influence in Europe after, together with Portugal, achieved a historic measure in the EU: the creation energy island, allowing only those two countries to cap the price of gas at €40 for the next twelve months to ease the electricity bill. A measure also requested by Confindustria’s Italian employers, but which Draghi was unable to implement. In addition, our country has Midcata gas pipeline that will pump Algerian gas from Catalonia to the rest of Europe, and which Brussels wants to renew.

Despite Spain and Italy’s strong commitment to green hydrogen, there is disagreement among experts about its usefulness in the future. Thus, Jorge Sanz, one of the most respected representatives of the industry, assures this newspaper that this hydrocarbon will have a limited circulation. “To produce it, you need renewable electricity, and its production, storage and transportation entail a lot of energy losses because you have to use very low temperatures. Hydrogen will become a niche solution for non-electrified consumptionsuch as high-temperature productions.” An opinion that contrasts with that of Cesar Alvarez, director of EnerHi’s hydrogen division, who believes his commitment will turn Spain into a “clean energy exporter”.


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