The European Commission today announced its billionth Euro of subsidies for gas infrastructure in under three years. A new pledge of €228 million for gas projects takes the total financing for fossil fuel infrastructure to over €1 billion since the Commission's flagship fund for energy infrastructure, the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), was launched in 2014.
The €228 million earmarked for gas infrastructure also dwarfs this year's allocation for electricity projects which are required for a fossil free future. Electricity infrastructure is required to enable Europe's clean renewable energy sources to be joined up.
Antoine Simon, fossil free campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said "These subsidies are funding unnecessary gas infrastructure like pipelines and LNG terminals that would lock us into a future of climate chaos. Europe urgently needs to go fossil free to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, and any investment in dirty fossil fuels like gas is one we cannot afford to make."
Some of the subsidies are also set to benefit private investors whose profits far exceed the money due to be received from the Commission.
The largest subsidy announced today – of almost €108 million – is for the Poland-Slovak pipeline project. A key shareholder in the project is the Czech power company EPH, which according to Bloomberg had a net income of €623 million in 2015. EPH is an ultimate shareholder in the company which owns eustream, listed as the applicant for the pipeline. The EPH shareholding operates through its subsidiary Slovak Gas Holding B.V.
Colin Roche, fossil free campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said "European taxpayers' money should be used to support desperately-needed clean energy projects, not further line the pockets of fossil fuel companies."