For immediate release: 22 February 2022
Contact: Frida Kieninger (EN, DE, ES, FR), [email protected], mobile: +32 (0) 487 24 99 05
Brussels – MEPs in the EU Parliament’s Energy Committee today voted with a large majority in favor of the Union List of Projects of Common and Mutual Interest (commonly known as the PCI list), a move that could lock in continued fossil fuel dependence.
The PCI list is a top EU priority list for energy infrastructure, drafted by the EU Commission with considerable influence from the fossil gas transport industry (ENTSO-G).
This 6th PCI list is the first list under renewed rules since the updated Trans European Networks for Energy (TEN-E) Regulation entered into force, which was allegedly crafted to exclude fossil gas projects from eligibility.
Ahead of the vote, close to 60 civil society groups from across Europe have called on EU parliamentarians to reject the PCI list: “These projects risk becoming stranded assets while helping the fossil fuel industry to stay rich by selling false solutions.”
Projects on the 6th PCI list voted today include large-scale hydrogen projects that would transport fossil-based hydrogen. The projects were approved for inclusion even though they lack an analysis of life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions as well as an assessment of infrastructure needs for priority uses of hydrogen. All 68 hydrogen projects have been submitted by the fossil fuel industry.
The list also includes more than a dozen CO2 transport projects to boost a European carbon capture and storage (CCS) market. CCS is a technology that has been widely criticized for repeated failures to actually permanently store CO2 or reduce climate pollution. CCS has been strongly supported by fossil fuel companies that claim industry emissions can eventually be removed in the future.
MEPs backed two particularly problematic fossil gas pipeline plans on the PCI list: the Melita TransGas pipeline between Malta and Sicily, as well as the multi-billion EastMed pipeline from offshore Cyprus to Greece.
“The PCI list is supposed to represent our common interests, but this is a fossil fuel industry wishlist of false solutions and failed technologies like hydrogen and so-called carbon capture,” said Frida Kieninger, Director of EU Affairs at Food & Water Action Europe.
“PCI projects will benefit not only from eligibility for EU tax money but also from faster permitting procedures and environmental impact assessments. And some of them are explicitly fossil fuel projects; two particularly problematic and contested fossil gas projects in Malta and Cyprus – the EastMed and Melita TransGas pipelines – have been greenlighted by decision makers.”
The objection to the 6th PCI list has been dismissed by ITRE MEPs, with 50 MEPs against, 11 MEPs supporting the objection and 2 abstentions. During the March 11-14 session in Strasbourg, a PCI list objection will be voted on by the EU Parliament plenary.