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Bratislava, 31 August 2021 – The Slovak gas transmission system operator EUSTREAM prepares its network for transporting renewable and low-carbon gasses. The company plans adjustments that will make its network technologically ready for blending up to 5 percent of hydrogen into the transported natural gas, as early as at the end of 2023. With the current volumes of natural gas transmission, Slovakia will be soon technologically ready to transport theoretically more than 2 bcm of hydrogen per year and thus to accommodate expected gradual increase in hydrogen supply/demand.

“So far our key network development priority has been the diversification of routes and building interconnections with neighboring countries. This will be fulfilled once the last missing interconnection – the new Poland-Slovakia Gas Interconnection is completed. In the new phase of the network development, our primary focus is to get ready for the low-carbon economy and support European climate ambitions. Our latest initiative allows us to be soon technologically ready for hydrogen blending up to 5 percent of the volume transported. We believe that this can provide a significant stimulus to promote the development of hydrogen capacities in the region,” said Director General of EUSTREAM Rastislav Ňukovič.

Today, blending represents an available way to promote the hydrogen transportation and its usage via existing gas infrastructure in a very short time; e.g. to store excess energy produced from the renewable sources. In order to make this possible, we need to invest in new technologies allowing for measuring transported hydrogen. EUSTREAM plans to install new devices across its network within the framework of the next two years and thus making the Slovak grid ready to work with hydrogen.

EUSTREAM also plans to develop an own photovoltaic plant to produce green hydrogen in its premises and then use it for fueling compressors, a unique move among TSOs. The first pilot project to decarbonize own operations is planned for the Veľké Kapušany compressor station, with expected hydrogen production in 2023.

In further development, EUSTREAM will utilize the unique advantage of the Slovak transmission network, which consists of several parallel pipelines connecting Ukraine, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and, in the near future, Poland. As a member of the European Hydrogen Backbone initiative, we plan to dedicate part of the transmission network only for transport of 100% hydrogen. The modernized corridor of several parallel pipelines will allow the combined transport of natural gas and hydrogen, depending on the actual development of demand and hydrogen capacities.

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The introduction to the EP Infrastructure Sustainability Report states that your mission is to provide the necessary infrastructure for energy transmission. How does this mission go hand in hand with the major transformation that is taking place in your company in terms of the new goals you have set for yourself as EP Infrastructure?

The transition to zero-emission sources of anything, including energy, is very important for Europe today. Coal-fired power stations are being decommissioned or replaced. Gas is essential for Europe to become independent of carbon. Our company is therefore ideally placed to help make this transformation happen. Europe has set itself the ambitious goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. We say we will meet these targets by 2040.

This is a very ambitious goal. What do you need to do to fulfil this commitment?

There are several routes we plan to take. First, we’ll look at our coal resources. We have three coal-fired thermal power plants in the Czech Republic, which we will replace by 2030. It could be gas, biomass, synthetic methane… there are more options. This transformation will substantially reduce our emissions burden. In another division, we are trying to power our compressor stations with renewable energy instead of gas. In Slovakia, we are experimenting with new gases – we are converting renewables into hydrogen to power our compressor stations. Carbon capture will become increasingly relevant for us. And once we get carbon underground, it will help us become carbon neutral.

If you can’t keep up with this transformation?

Then we will build some renewable capacity to offset our emissions. So we have a pretty detailed plan to meet the targets. But if you want to say for sure how it’s all going to happen, I don’t know.

EPH has historically invested in green energy, recently approving a huge investment to build wind turbines in Germany. Do you plan to move in this direction within EP Infrastructure as well?

For EPIF, renewables are not the main strategy. We will only step in if we cannot meet the targets and only where it serves as a supporting technology to a larger whole. Investing in renewables is more the EPH way.

You are presenting an investment-intensive plan. How much will such a transition cost you?

I think we need to invest substantially.

At the end of February, you issued half a billion euros of 10-year bonds. In koruna terms, this amounts to 13.2 billion. And it was relatively cheap money. Is that the way you want to go in the future in terms of financing this transformation?

EPIF is an investment firm. We have issued €2.35 billion of bonds so far. The latest subscription for half a billion euros indicates that the financial community understands the investment potential of our group. And they also see the role we will play in the context of the transition to clean energy.

Do you feel the rate of transformation to carbon neutrality increasing? Europe has set 2050 targets and companies are already racing to see who can reach the target first. Years like 2030 are already falling.

Two factors influence this situation. The first is the political consensus across the European Union and nation states, and the second is the investor community. If you look at insurance companies, they look very closely at how much is being discharged by the clients they insure. And let us also not forget that there is increasing demand for a clean Europe from citizens. It is no longer a question of if, but when. And every month the question of “when” gets closer and closer. Notwithstanding these changes, energy must remain affordable.

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Today, the European Hydrogen Backbone (EHB) initiative presents an analysis on future demand, supply, and transport of hydrogen across Europe. This study complements the recently published EHB maps, outlining a hydrogen pipeline network of nearly 40,000 km by 2040, connecting 19 EU Member States plus the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

  • A new study by the European Hydrogen Backbone initiative estimates 2,300 TWh of hydrogen demand in EU+UK by 2050.
  • Future demand requires large pipeline transport capacities: repurposed existing gas infrastructure plays a crucial role in connecting hydrogen supply and demand locations.
  • In addition to domestic supply, abundant natural resources and physical proximity drive the favorable economics of pipeline imports from neighboring regions (such as North Africa and Ukraine), making these regions attractive partners for future hydrogen trade.
  • Study identifies additional blue hydrogen supply potential available in CEE (Eustream already plans various green/blue hydrogen project, subject of ongoing discussions with partners).

 

Full report and press release is available here:

https://gasforclimate2050.eu/publications/

https://gasforclimate2050.eu/news-item/new-study-sufficient-hydrogen-available-within-reach-of-the-european-hydrogen-backbone/

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Slovak gas TSO Eustream has joined the European Hydrogen Backbone (EHB) initiative with the aim to facilitate future hydrogen transit flows within the EU. The EHB initiative now proposes an updated vision of a hydrogen network of 39,700km connecting 21 European countries by 2040. Slovak part represents an important contribution to this initiative, enabling future import of hydrogen, potentially supplied from Ukraine, or other cross-border transit flows.

Eustream operates a part of the European  backbone network consisting of 4-5 parallel pipelines connecting Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Poland in the near future. 

Eustream carefully follows the announced plans and partnerships indicating future green hydrogen production in the EU and neighbouring countries, with significant potential identified in Ukraine. The system of parallel pipelines will allow Eustream to develop hydrogen transportation gradually, depending on how fast the new production capacities are launched. 

“Our robust transmission system would offer a flexible and very cost-effective way of transporting green energy further to EU markets. We are committed to make our infrastructure hydrogen-ready and thus strongly contribute to the EU’s decarbonisation objectives” Eustream’s general director Rastislav Ňukovič.

For more information about EHB Initiative please visit https://gasforclimate2050.eu/

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The Slovak Regulatory Office for Network Industries approved the updated version of the Operational Order of eustream, a.s. introducing the new shorthaul product between Velke Zlievce – Baumgarten. For more information consult article 5.7. and 7.4.2. of the Operational Order.

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Bratislava, 31 August 2021 – The Slovak gas transmission system operator EUSTREAM prepares its network for transporting renewable and low-carbon gasses. The company plans adjustments that will make its network technologically ready for blending up to 5 percent of hydrogen into the transported natural gas, as early as at the end of 2023. With the current volumes of natural gas transmission, Slovakia will be soon technologically ready to transport theoretically more than 2 bcm of hydrogen per year and thus to accommodate expected gradual increase in hydrogen supply/demand.

“So far our key network development priority has been the diversification of routes and building interconnections with neighboring countries. This will be fulfilled once the last missing interconnection – the new Poland-Slovakia Gas Interconnection is completed. In the new phase of the network development, our primary focus is to get ready for the low-carbon economy and support European climate ambitions. Our latest initiative allows us to be soon technologically ready for hydrogen blending up to 5 percent of the volume transported. We believe that this can provide a significant stimulus to promote the development of hydrogen capacities in the region,” said Director General of EUSTREAM Rastislav Ňukovič.

Today, blending represents an available way to promote the hydrogen transportation and its usage via existing gas infrastructure in a very short time; e.g. to store excess energy produced from the renewable sources. In order to make this possible, we need to invest in new technologies allowing for measuring transported hydrogen. EUSTREAM plans to install new devices across its network within the framework of the next two years and thus making the Slovak grid ready to work with hydrogen.

EUSTREAM also plans to develop an own photovoltaic plant to produce green hydrogen in its premises and then use it for fueling compressors, a unique move among TSOs. The first pilot project to decarbonize own operations is planned for the Veľké Kapušany compressor station, with expected hydrogen production in 2023.

In further development, EUSTREAM will utilize the unique advantage of the Slovak transmission network, which consists of several parallel pipelines connecting Ukraine, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and, in the near future, Poland. As a member of the European Hydrogen Backbone initiative, we plan to dedicate part of the transmission network only for transport of 100% hydrogen. The modernized corridor of several parallel pipelines will allow the combined transport of natural gas and hydrogen, depending on the actual development of demand and hydrogen capacities.

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