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July 18, 2023

Regulator calls out EU plans for gas buildout

Gas flame cooker hob
Acer has criticised Entsog’s latest 10-year plan for including too many conventional gas infrastructure projects (Photo: Pexels/Pixabay)

The European association of gas transmission operators’ latest 10-year plan needs improving, says the EU’s energy regulator, highlighting an over-large portfolio of gas projects and a need for greater clarity around plans for hydrogen and associated costs.

Every two years, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas publishes a Ten-Year Network Development Plan, which is monitored by the EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators. Entsog’s draft TYNDP 2022 “includes a large portfolio of conventional gas infrastructure projects that is likely to exceed reasonable needs for such infrastructure, considering the expected reduction in gas demand in Europe from 2030”, says Acer in its latest assessment.

The TYNDP 2022 contains 358 investments, of which 143 are conventional natural gas or methane infrastructure projects, 108 are transmission lines, and 23 are liquefied natural gas terminals. Hydrogen infrastructure projects make up 152 of the proposed investments.

Acer also raised the “unprecedentedly high” investment costs of €110bn for all gas-related projects, in particular costs of €77.5bn for hydrogen projects.

“The lack of a complete (European and national) legal framework for hydrogen regulation hinders the assessment of hydrogen infrastructure projects by some regulatory authorities,” notes Acer.

Global Witness senior campaigner Dominic Eagleton said Acer was “right to raise alarm bells” about the number of gas projects proposed under Entsog’s plan.

“With parts of Italy currently experiencing night-time temperatures of above 30C, Europe’s gas industry is doubling down on climate-wrecking fossil gas with planned investments of €30bn into 143 new gas infrastructure projects,” Eagleton said in a statement.

“The fossil gas industry’s plans would lock in and worsen these kinds of extreme weather events,” he continued. “We need an urgent phase-out of fossil gas and clean, affordable electricity and heating for all.”

You can read the latest assessment here.

A service from the Financial Times