The H2 Backbone WAG + PW project enters PCI list

Vienna, 28 November 2023 - With the "H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West" project, Gas Connect Austria is aiming to convert the West Austria Gas Pipeline (WAG) and the Penta-West Pipeline (PW) for the future hydrogen transport. The forward-looking project has now been included in the PCI's Union list.

This milestone in the progress of the project opens up the prospect of accelerated authorisation and implementation procedures as well as possible European funding. Further information on the project can be found on the website:

The transition to a sustainable energy future requires a gradual switch to renewable gaseous energy sources - above all hydrogen. Gas Connect Austria is therefore committed to expanding the hydrogen infrastructure at both national and European level in order to ensure the future supply of sustainable energy to the economy and society. After submitting the project candidates to the European Commission and completing the procedure for identifying projects of common interest, the network operator has reached an important milestone: The "H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West" project was included in the Union list of "Projects of Common Interest" (PCI) several times. Following confirmation by the European Council and the European Parliament, it is now possible to benefit from accelerated approval and implementation procedures and, under certain conditions, access to European funding from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). The award of PCI status thus creates essential prerequisites for the realisation of the project - in line with Austrian and European hydrogen plans.

"The designation of "H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West" as a PCI project provides us with the basis for a number of benefits to drive the project forward and thus take an important step towards a sustainable hydrogen future. The realisation of the project opens up promising opportunities for the future transport of hydrogen in and to Europe. If we also succeed in obtaining the necessary overall financing through appropriate funding, we will make a significant contribution to domestic and supraregional security of supply as well as to achieving the ambitious energy and climate targets. In addition, Austria's attractiveness as a business location will be strengthened," says Stefan Wagenhofer, Managing Director of Gas Connect Austria.

Central turntable for the European hydrogen market

Due to its central location, the "H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West" project forms a key turntable for future hydrogen transport in Central and Eastern Europe. On the one hand, the project is part of the southern hydrogen corridor SoutH2 Corridor, which establishes a connection between North Africa, Italy, Austria and Germany. On the other hand, the project creates important transport connections with Northern and Eastern Europe, e.g. as part of the H2EU+Store initiative.

Project creates sustainable hydrogen security of supply

The "H2 Backbone WAG + Penta-West" project aims to supplement the West Austria Gas Pipeline (WAG) and the Penta-West Pipeline (PW) with continuous parallel lines for the transport of hydrogen by 2030. Over 200 kilometres of new pipeline are to be built and 140 kilometres of the existing pipeline system converted. This will open up cross-border, bidirectional hydrogen transport options between Slovakia and Austria and between Austria and Germany of up to 150 GWh/day. With the planned conversion and expansion of the infrastructure, hydrogen could be obtained from various sources in the future. In particular, industrial clusters in Austria (e.g. Vienna, Styria and Linz), but also neighbouring regions (e.g. Bavaria) would benefit from the planned expansion. The project would also enable the connection to future hydrogen storage facilities. The project also creates synergies with the WAG Loop project, which is aimed at the currently planned expansion of WAG to increase transport capacity in reverse flow (from west to east) and which is to be realised 100% hydrogen-compatible.

Click here for the H2 Backbone WAG + Penta West project website