Civil society opposes additional unnecessary gas infrastructures

  • In light of the publication of the REPowerEU strategy, the Gas Is Not the Solution campaign -of which IIDMA is a member – has released a manifesto.
  • In it, they declare their opposition to the development of more gas infrastructures and denounce the misleading excuse of green hydrogen gas at the state and European level.

Following the publication of the REPowerEU strategy, Gas Is Not the Solution has released a manifesto rejecting the proposal from the Congress of Deputies to facilitate the construction and financing of the MidCat gas pipeline, including its inclusion on the list of projects of common European interest (PCIs), listed under the pretext of being compatible with green hydrogen. An amendment also encourages the reopening of the illegal regasification plant, El Musel, in addition to the Royal Decree-Law 6/2022, in the process of amendments, whose original text allows the development of new gas infrastructures in the Canary Islands. Numerous studies show that a large part of fossil fuels should be left underground. In Gas Is Not the Solution’s opinion, the development of new gas infrastructures is not necessary to relieve the energy dependence on Russian gas by 2025. In this regard, they claim they role of hydrogen has a very low potential to help.

One example is MidCat, a controversial project that was stalled in 2019 due to Spanish and French energy regulators’ rejection of the project. Its development would not help the European energy crisis in the short, medium, or long term. Even in the unlikely 3 years to completion timeframe, which would entail a large cost increase, it could only transport 2.2% of European gas demand in 2021. If used to transport 100% renewable hydrogen in the future, it would be necessary to increase the installed photovoltaic potential by 45%, 37% more in the case of wind power, diverting investments needed for the urgent decarbonization of the electricity supply.

The same applies to the illegal regasification plant at El Musel in Gijón. According to Gas Is Not the Solution, the commissioning of the plant is unnecessary. Due to the oversizing of regasification potential in 2021, the existing regasification plants operated at only 27% of their capacity. As for its possible use as a liquified natural gas (LNG) storage facility, it would only increase LNG storage in regasification in Spain by 10%. It would also not make sense as an intermediate loading and unloading point or methane tankers bound for Europe, due to the increase in operating costs, loss of time, and increase in the number of kilometers travelled.

Regarding the Royal Decree-Law 6/2022 of the Government, different political groups have presented amendments during this week. Those that Gas Is Not the Solution favours are aimed at removing the provisions that allow the facilitation of the installation of gasification plants in at least 2 ports, Gran Canaria and Tenerife, from the text. The original provision exempts such infrastructure from administrative authorization, equating it to military energy infrastructure and qualifying it as general interest.

Gas Is Not the Solution proposes the dedication of these potential investments to projects that can provide resilience through demand reduction, self-consumption, and energy diversification that are more beneficial to energy transition and to the search for coherence between state and European energy policies with climate emergency, putting people’s well-being at the forefront.