2 Gas Infrastructure and European Energy Policy

Existing European gas infrastructures already provide a high level of market integration, security of supply and competition in many parts of Europe. ­Further developments in some specific areas are necessary in order to ensure that such benefits will be strengthened and maintained in the long term.

The Third Energy Package should ensure a sound climate for a market-based development of gas ­infrastructures. In this context the TEN-E Regulation aims at facilitating the delivery of key ­infrastructures.

New infrastructure projects may contribute to ­market integration through additional flexibility and diversification of gas supply sources or routes. As a result, both competition and security of supply should increase. It is therefore important that the European regulatory framework continue ensuring adequate support to infrastructure developments that will allow to meet current and future needs.

With regards to sustainability and renewable ­projects, nowadays there are supports and an ­adequate regulatory framework in place to promote ­renewable electricity projects. On the other hand, when referring to the TEN-E framework and the PCI process, there is a very limited room for projects and technologies enabling renewable and decarbonised gases. With regards to the gas PCI process there are no clear indications whether those projects could be eligible for the PCI label (Annex II). All technologies that contribute to the decarbonisation of the energy system, including those which enable renewable and decarbonised gases, should benefit from the same kind of treatment, assuring a level playing field between energy carriers (technology neutrality).

Regarding the sustainability pillar of the EU Energy Policy, gas infrastructures already offer a flexible system able to support the development of renewable energies. These infrastructures are able to transport a low carbon fuel to support the development of intermittent renewable power production and enable a large-scale injection of non-fossil gas (such as biogas/biomethane or gas from power-to-gas processes). Gas infrastructures provide the advantage of storing renewable energy as well as transporting energy at relatively low costs. New investment may allow further integration of renewable sources and achieve further level of decarbonisation.

To achieve climate goals under the European Green Deal in a cost-efficient way, a coordinated and ­coherent interaction between electricity and gases (including natural gas, biomethane, synthetic ­methane and hydrogen) is essential. Such an ­integrated approach should address how to ­develop the infrastructure necessary for the future in an ­efficient and technology neutral manner, which also reflects the increasing demand for hydrogen and the essential role of power-to-gas technologies.