Italy won't pay to become Europe's energy hub. EU funds are expected - Meloni says
Italy looks forward to use the European Union's funds under the so-called REPowerEU plan to completely wean itself off Russian gas and turn the country into energy hub for the bloc, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said in her statement on Monday, 6 February.
Meloni - who met on Monday with relevant ministers and the CEOs of energy groups Eni, Enel, Snam and Terna - mentioned the need to cooperate with Africa on energy supplies.
'Less then a half of trillion' idea
With total funds close to 300 billion euros, the REPowerEU plan is aimed at ending the EU's dependence on Russian fossil fuels and tackling the climate crisis.
It includes about 225 billion euros of untapped loans made available under the NextGenerationEU pandemic recovery plan launched in 2021.
Snam slam. More billions to ask
The European Commission also proposed to fund it through additional 20 billion euros in grants from the sale of EU Emission Trading System allowances (ETS).
Launched in 2005, the ETS system compels manufacturers, power companies and airlines to buy permits to cover each tonne of carbon dioxide they emit.
The chief executive of Italian gas grid operator Snam told Reuters last week the group would seek EU support to invest 2.5 billion euros to boost the capacity of domestic network.
Money coming from the RePowerEU could also be devoted to build the so-called SoutH2 Corridor, a link to bring hydrogen that would be produced in northern Africa to northern Europe, one source with knowledge of the matter said.
Italy's government plans to complete the talks with Brussels on Rome's proposed use of the EU funds by the end of April, Rome's statement said.
Earlier, Italy’s energy infrastructure operator Snam has revealed its plans to invest a total of €10 billion ($10.8 billion) by 2026 in strengthening its transport, storage and LNG business to contribute to the country’s energy security.
The investment is part of Snam’s 2022-2026 Strategy Plan, which was approved by the board of directors on 19 January, focusing on development, decarbonisation and digitalisation.