Greek gas grid operator DESFA plans to invest in biomethane and hydrogen infrastructure to be in a position to utilize these eco-friendly gas options and avoid being impacted by the energy transition.
DESFA’s experienced European gas companies holding stakes in the Greek operator believe green biomethane technologies are more developed and mature compared to those available for hydrogen.
Snam, Enagas and DESFA’s other shareholders – Fluxys, Damco – have set as a primary objective to “decarbonize the natural gas chain”.
DESFA officials are in talks with universities, market authorities, as well as Greek enterprises to develop biomethane pilot programs.
More projects such as the White Dragon project – bringing Greece’s biggest industrial corporations closer for major investments in electrolytic hydrogen production by means of solar energy from photovoltaic parks – can be expected next winter, officials anticipate.
If the White Dragon project is approved, DESFA plans to upgrade its existing natural gas network in order to be able to receive hydrogen production, transport from the country’s north to south, channel to TAP and, via TAP, transport to the EU.
DESFA’s share of the White Dragon project, estimated between 30 and 35 percent of the cost, is expected to reach 1.5 billion euros, of which one billion euros – if the project is approved – will concern the development of new infrastructure for hydrogen transmission through the Greek gas network, measuring 1,466 km.
EU funding support for new natural gas and oil-related projects is expected to end soon, but will remain available over a transition period until December 31, 2029 for natural gas projects and gas transportation and storage infrastructure conversions catering to hydrogen, natural gas and biomethane needs before ultimately serving as hydrogen transportation and storage facilities, exclusively.
The council of EU energy ministers accepted Trans-European Energy Networks (TEN-E) regulation revisions incorporating these funding support changes at a meeting in Luxembourg.
The revisions, designed to help the EU achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, are planned to be implemented in 2022, if ratified.
The revisions also include measures designed to offer sustained protection for market competition and energy supply security.
The proposed revisions identify 11 priority energy corridors and three thematic priority areas for projects of common interest funded through the Connecting Europe Facility (2021-2027).
DEPA Commercial, the new entity emerging from gas utility DEPA, will enter renewable energy production as part of the company’s transformation from a gas to energy company, its administration has decided.
The firm has already held talks with green energy players with the aim of involving DEPA Commercial in solar and wind energy projects about to enter the construction stage or already being constructed, sources informed.
An initial objective for the accumulation of a green-energy portfolio comprising approximately 200 MW has been set by the company, sources added.
Careful steps are being taken in the RES sector, Dr. Konstantinos Karagiannakos, the company’s Coordinating Director of Trading Activities, recently noted.
Having lost a steady and reliable market share in gas distribution, a sector that guaranteed DEPA annual profit of about 25 million euros, DEPA Commercial is now eyeing new activities and revenues from domains that offer more consistency than trade, entailing higher risk.
Besides the RES sector, DEPA Commercial’s lower-risk approach has also led to an interest in the prospective Alexandroupoli FSRU in northeastern Greece.
The company is also broadening its activities to cover gas supply for the industrial sector and customers in areas without gas networks, through small-scale LNG and remote CNG solutions, as well as the gas-run vehicle market through the development of a nationwide network of refueling stations.
In addition, the company is also making plans to enter eco-friendly alternative fuel markets such as hydrogen and biomethane.
Gas company DEPA Commerce’s five-year business plan for 2020-2024, containing investments estimated at 200 million euros, aspires to broaden the company’s interests by also incorporating renewable energy projects totaling 200 MW, either through independent development or acquisitions of mature plans.
Privatization fund TAIPED and the energy ministry are expected to approve the DEPA Commerce business plan within July.
DEPA Commerce was formed by gas utility DEPA as a new entity for its privatization procedure.
Besides RES projects, the DEPA Commerce business plan also includes hydrogen and biomethane projects, as well as electromobility initiatives.
The company’s expansion of business activities is expected to lead to greatly increased EBITDA and profit figures.
Once finalized and approved, the DEPA Commerce five-year business plan will be included in the due diligence package for prospective bidders.