Bavaria eyes gas and green hydrogen supplies through new pipeline from Croatia
Croatia could become an important gas supplier for the southern German state of Bavaria by providing liquefied natural gas (LNG) and also hydrogen to the economic powerhouse state, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports. “Bavaria is looking for its energy of the future,” state premier Markus Söder said during a visit to Krk , Croatia’s northernmost island in the Mediterranean. Accompanied by Austria’s chancellor Karl Nehammer and Croatia’s prime minister Andrej Plenkovic, Söder said receiving gas supplies from the southeastern European nation would not only make landlocked Bavaria more independent from Russia but also “more independent from the North.” Coastal states in northern Germany have become the country’s most important entry points for gas, currently from countries like the Netherlands and Norway, as well as planned LNG shipments in newly constructed shipping terminals.
The conservative CSU politician, whose state relied on Russia for about 90 percent of its gas supply, said a pipeline running through Austria could first deliver gas and later green hydrogen to satisfy “Bavaria’s big appetite for energy.” The terminal on Krk island has a planned annual capacity of about six billion cubic metres, roughly half of Bavaria’s annual demand, the article said. Croatia’s premier Plenkovic said he aims to make the country an “energy hub” in southern Europe, but construction of the pipeline is estimated to take up to five years. Commenting for the Green Party in Bavaria, energy expert Martin Stümpfig said the state would not need any gas pipelines that are not finished before 2030, arguing that Söder should rather do more to ramp up renewable power production in the state itself. “We have to get out of gas as a bridge technology,” Stümpfig said. Bavaria’s state premier and the heads of Austria and Croatia agreed to push the project at the EU level and create a steering group to assesses necessary infrastructure measures and costs. “The prospective pipeline is not about this winter,” but should rather contribute to long-term energy plans, Söder said.
The energy crisis is hitting Bavaria harder than other German states due to its high dependence on Russian gas, its many energy-intensive companies and the slow roll-out of wind power and power transmission lines. The state’s industry has warned that Bavaria risks falling behind other states if it doesn’t catch up in terms of renewable power production, while states in northern Germany have called for splitting the country into two different power price zones that grant lower prices to regions where renewable power is more abundantly available.