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28 November 2023 | News

International Baltic Sea Hydrogen Infrastructure awarded PCI status in the EU

The Nordic Hydrogen Route, Nordic-Baltic Hydrogen Corridor and Baltic Sea Hydrogen Collector hydrogen infrastructure development projects around the Baltic Sea have been designated as Projects of Common Interest (PCI) by the European Commission. PCI status allows, among other things, to apply for EU funding for the projects and accelerated permitting processes.

International Baltic Sea Hydrogen Infrastructure awarded PCI status in the EU
Planned hydrogen pipelines around the Baltic Sea. Image: Gasgrid Finland

“We are very proud of all three of our international hydrogen projects being included on the list and regarded as important at the EU level. Inclusion on the Commission’s Projects of Common Interest list cannot be taken for granted. We’re pleased to see that Finland and the Baltic Sea region are regarded as such a key component of the European energy infrastructure”, says Sara Kärki, Senior Vice President, Hydrogen Development, from Gasgrid.

Gasgrid promotes hydrogen projects and the development of international infrastructure collaboration in the Baltic Sea region together with eight other gas transmission system operators and two industrial enterprises operating in the region. In addition, Gasgrid has been mandated by the State of Finland to construct the national hydrogen transmission network and develop the hydrogen economy in Finland.

The status may be granted for projects that are essential for completing the European internal energy market and for the EU achieving its energy and climate policy objectives: delivering affordable, secure and sustainable energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement. The projects must have a significant impact on the energy market and market integration in at least two EU Member States, increase competition on energy markets, and enhance the security of supply of energy by, for example, facilitating the integration of energy from renewable energy sources.

Next, the PCI list proposed by the Commission will be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council. If the PCI list now published is accepted and the projects are awarded the PCI status, EU funding for them can be applied through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).

Major step towards the hydrogen economy

The next planning stages and routing plans of the projects will be refined according to the content of the PCI list. Gasgrid Finland is involved in three hydrogen infrastructure development projects, for which PCI status has now been applied for. The Nordic-Baltic Hydrogen Corridor project examines the hydrogen infrastructure being built from Finland to Germany via Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The Nordic Hydrogen Route project explores the hydrogen infrastructure between Finland and Sweden on the coast of the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea Hydrogen Collector project explores the undersea hydrogen infrastructure that will connect Finland and Sweden to Central Europe. The next planning stages and routing plans of the projects will be specified when the processing of the PCI list of the European Parliament and the European Council has been completed.

“This is a major step towards the hydrogen economy. Pipeline infrastructure makes it possible to attract investments and new jobs to Finland. The realisation of the investments will improve Finland’s energy self-sufficiency and security and, indirectly, generate wellbeing for the entire country through new high-value products and by enabling export industry growth. In addition, the construction of international hydrogen transmission connections expands the hydrogen market and creates new business opportunities in the various stages of the hydrogen value chains. Finland therefore has potential to reach the goal of becoming the European leader in the hydrogen economy”, Kärki says.

Finland to lead the way in the hydrogen economy

According to a resolution adopted by the Finnish Government in spring 2023, Finland is well placed to develop into a forerunner in the hydrogen economy that produces 10% of the EU’s green hydrogen. Gasgrid is supporting the implementation of the resolution by means of its national hydrogen projects. The PCI list now published means that Gasgrid’s Finnish national hydrogen projects and hydrogen network development will progress in accordance with the mandate provided by the State of Finland.

“The development of the national hydrogen network is built on extensive stakeholder consultations. For example, we’ve explored the interest among industrial actors and project developers to join the national and international hydrogen network. We’ve also looked into the role of regions and municipalities in enabling the Finnish hydrogen economy. Based on these explorations and consultations, we will refine the hydrogen infrastructure project routing plans and continue project development”, Kärki says.

Nordic Hydrogen Route project: Nordic Hydrogen Route
Baltic Sea Hydrogen Collector project: Baltic Sea Hydrogen Collector
Nordic-Baltic Hydrogen Corridor project: Nordic-Baltic Hydrogen Corridor