PM’s “breakthrough” looking increasingly less impressive
António Eloy, coordinator of the Iberian Energy Observatory, has echoed expert criticism from Portugal saying: “it is impossible” for the same pipeline to supply gas and hydrogen, as pointed out by the Spanish, Portuguese and French governments under the agreement to accelerate energy interconnections.
He told Lusa in a written statement: “It is impossible for the same pipeline to supply two different production segments”.
With Portugal’s PM taking joint responsibility for this “pipeline dedicated to ‘green’ hydrogen and other renewable gases but which, on a transitional basis, can be used to transport natural gas – up to a certain amount”, he described the agreement forged with France as “good news (…) One of the oldest blockages in Europe has been overcome. Portugal and Spain are making a good contribution to Europe as a whole, showing how, by overcoming blockages, it is possible to help the spirit of common solidarity” at a time of energy crisis.
António Eloy puts the picture into sharper perspective. “The project is still completely virtual. For its realisation, the fundamental investment decision is lacking, which is far from guaranteed, as well as the studies and environmental impact assessment, doubtful to be positive in several cases”.
Mr Eloy has also been at pains to “debunk the idea that this project is ‘green’“, explaining that even if it ONLY served to transport hydrogen, “it would certainly have ‘black’ energy contributions” (a little like all ‘renewables’ in the end seem to).
For António Eloy, the project, the timetable/ funding sources and costs of which will be discussed on December 9, “is of dubious concreteness“.
“They throw the rockets and pick up the sticks… and nothing. If it is realised in nine or 12 years time it will be irrelevant, in a new energy scenario,” he said.
António Eloy, adds Lusa, has been advocating for over two decades for transition to a hydrogen-based economy. He believes it to be an advantageous energy source in a “proximity economy, where production is interconnected with use”.
“Export is not negligible, although in that case we are either talking about transport in containers of the liquid, either by road, or rail, or the improbable and unpredictable transport in dedicated pipelines”.
Quizzed about MidCat, the previous project that foresaw energy interconnections between the Iberian Peninsula and France through the Pyrenees – and which has not been carried through – Eloy said it involved “a mix of electrical connections, which were absolutely necessary”.
However, it also prompted what he calls “the megalomania of transporting gas to Germany, when it would be much more economic to transfer it from Sines by boat to Hamburg, as it would have serious environmental drawbacks in the Pyrenees pass, in addition to which, clearly, France was not at all interested in paying for something that is of no use to it”.
To be fair, we should add here that Mr Costa has this far batted-off criticism of the plan, dubbed BarMar (standing for the Barcelona Marseille sea connection involved) as coming from people who ‘do not know what they are talking about’.
It will be difficult to say António Eloy doesn’t know what he is talking about; just as it is unlikely that Portugal’s ‘expert’ recently interviewed by SIC António Sá da Costa doesn’t either.