Prospect of a new pipeline across the Alps

28 November 2023

The German and Italian governments have agreed to expand energy co-operation in order to strengthen supply security and the transition to climate neutrality, with gas and hydrogen pipelines across the Alps a key element, reports online agency Clean Energy Wire. At a recent meeting of members of the two governments in Berlin, chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasised that expanding the natural gas and hydrogen transport infrastructure connecting the two countries – which do not share a border – would be “particularly important.” “With a new pipeline across the Alps, we want to increase the security of supply of both our countries,” said Scholz.

The chancellor and Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni signed a German–Italian Action Plan, which laid out closer co-operation in five areas: future technologies, green growth and climate action, international co-operation and security, the European agenda, and personal contacts and cultural partnerships. “Germany and Italy will support the diversification of energy supply and the expansion of energy connectivity in the European market and promote new gas and hydrogen pipelines between Germany and Italy (via Austria and/or Switzerland), in particular the ‘South Central Corridor’, which connects southern Germany and Italy with North Africa,” says the plan. The goal would be to import green hydrogen from African countries, and both Italy and Germany aim to support the acceleration of renewable energy, gas and hydrogen production in northern Africa.

During a visit to Rome by chancellor Scholz in the summer, the two leaders discussed the construction of a new natural gas and hydrogen pipeline across the Alps, and threw their weight behind. Italy aims to become a strategic energy hub connecting Europe to North Africa and the Middle East, especially after the changes in Europe’s energy supply following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The two governments agreed to organise annual joint consultations between the foreign and energy ministries on energy and climate policy at EU level. The action plan also says that the international climate club, which was set up during Germany’s G7 presidency in 2022, should be fully operational by the time of the UN climate change conference, COP28 this year, which takes place from 30 November to 12 December in Dubai.

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