France, Spain to build hydrogen pipeline at a cost of $2.6bn

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France and Spain have agreed in principle to build an underwater pipeline between Marseille and Barcelona at a cost of $2.6 billion to carry green hydrogen, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Friday, adding he hoped the European Union would partly fund the project. The pipeline will have a capacity of two million tonnes a year and be ready by the end of the decade, Sanchez said at a summit of Mediterranean European Union leaders in the south-eastern Spanish port city of Alicante.

The decision to pursue the project comes as an energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine has ac-celerated European plans to bolster renewable energy as an alternative to Russian gas. The corridor will make Iberia “a major energy hub” and form part of a “European hydrogen back-bone” allowing the bloc to pump hydrogen across the continent as it seeks to produce 10 million tonnes of clean hydrogen a year and import a further 10 million tonnes by 2030, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. “Hydrogen is a game changer for Europe,” von der Leyen said. “We want to make hydrogen a central part of our energy system in the transition to climate neutrality.” Green hydrogen is made from electrolysers powered by renewable energy. Portu-guese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said the Iberian peninsula’s abundance of sunshine and wind used for renewable energy would make producing the hydrogen competitive.—AP