• 08 – 10 October 2024
  • Exhib. Centre Düsseldorf

Energy crisis: “We are all in this together!"

11 October 2023*

In the interview with ALUMINIUM, Roxana Caliminte, Deputy Secretary General of Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE), outlines the vision of GIE, its role, and contributions to the energy sector and climate targets – and what it takes to establish a solid foundation of an innovative energy system, delivering clean, secure, efficient, and sustainable energy to European citizens and industries, embracing green and low-carbon gases. With the energy crisis being a crucial topic to the whole industry, Roxana states there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution – the crisis requires coordination, solidarity, and tailored approaches.


Roxana Caliminte, Deputy Secretary General of Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE)

The most important is to speed up the energy transition, modernise our energy system while fostering energy independence. Together. We’re all in this together.

What are the main goals and visions of GIE?

Our vision is that by 2050, the gas infrastructure will be the backbone of the new innovative energy system. We are here to deliver the cleanest, most secure, efficient and sustainable energy supply for European citizens and industries. As GIE, we will continue providing the answers to the “how” and “when” this is being delivered. We welcome the new stakeholders – the value chains change and grow. To some extent, we are the incumbents for gases – we are innovators of green and low-carbon gases and welcome all partners on board.  

How do you consider GIE as the voice in Europe of the gas infrastructure operators?

Our members operate the pipelines, underground gas storage, and LNG terminals in Europe.  Today, we transport 4 000TWh, store 1 100TWh and import almost 3 000TWh. This makes up 25% of the primary energy consumption of the EU. In a nutshell, we help get the energy to people that help them lead the safe, predictable and affordable lifestyles they want – with natural gas at its heart. Now, looking ahead – the plan is to decarbonise those parts of the economy that cannot be electrified. And so, growing demand for renewable and low-carbon gases means we’ll need to import, transport, store and export large volumes of gases in various forms. Within and outside Europe. We do not decide on the “color” of the gas. We provide the transport – the storage – the import option. For all gases. We are here to deliver services for the consumers. 

What contribution can GIE make to help achieve the climate targets? 

Collaboration, diversity, inclusion and sustainability are set to shape Europe’s clean energy landscape. GIE is determined to support Europe’s energy transformation with its future-proof solutions. Here’s how: Collaboration between sectors, regions, generations and genders. Diversity of energy carriers, infrastructures and workforce. Inclusion of all talents and clean energy carriers. Sustainability of diverse and affordable solutions for EU’s citizens and businesses. This means leaving no one behind in our mission to bolster the EU’s autonomy with a mix of local energy production, a high diversity of energy carriers, origins and routes and solid market governance for imports.

What are the latest technological and innovative developments in the sector to achieve climate neutrality?

We are committed to delivering the REPower EU targets that aim for 10mn tons of hydrogen produced in the EU by 2030 and for another 10mn tons to be imported.

The first projects are emerging. In Austria, the first pure hydrogen storage in the world in a porous reservoir was inaugurated. And more than 40 projects are on the way in the EU.

Also, network operators have launched 300 projects to convert gas pipelines into hydrogen pipelines. For instance, in the Netherlands, Germany and France, it’s done successfully at full scale, showing how the future industrial hydrogen corridors can look. This retrofit is a cost-effective solution because it costs about three times less than laying a new pipeline.

LNG terminals will be the gateway to Europe for hydrogen derivatives such as synthetic methane, ammonia, LOHCs or possibly liquid hydrogen, depending on the technologies that will be chosen to ensure global hydrogen trade in the future. Around 20 projects are currently on their way.

You can check out all these projects on the European Hydrogen Infrastructure Map website.

We are also committed to transporting 35 bcm by 2030 to wherever needed – another REPower EU ambition. Already today, some GIE members are frontrunners of biomethane. For example, in Denmark, biomethane accounted for 40% of their annual gas consumption, they aim for 100% biomethane before 2030. 

What’s your view on the energy crisis? What should happen, what can we all do to overcome the crisis?

Coordination, solidarity and transparency are key. It’s by fostering cooperation between EU Member States that we’ve overcome last winter’s crisis. With all on board: policymakers, energy actors, engineers, economists, and consumers.

This winter, we’ll continue to do what we did last winter: reroute hundreds of gigawatts from the traditional import and transport routes, fill up EU’s gas stocks at full capacity, diversify gas supplies with new LNG regas capacities at places where they can serve the wider EU market, complete interconnections and increase market transparency with ALSI and AGSI.

When it comes to overcoming the crisis with decarbonisation:

  1.  There is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Some countries like Denmark have moved fast on green gases. Others like Germany and Poland, who have decided to phase out coal, need extra natural gas for some decades before green gases can take over. In parallel, Germany and Poland increased their targets for green gasses. These switches represent the largest carbon dioxide emission reductions. By far! We decarbonise.
  2. Legislation should also be stable and predictable. We need the certainty. But our members are willing and committed to reinvesting in our infrastructure – making it ready for the EU energy transition.
  3. Consumers are the heart of the society. And they need to know the energy they are consuming is clean. Gas infrastructure operators will keep on moving the gas across borders, and a robust system of guarantees of origins must/will enable the consumers to trace the origins of their decarbonised and renewable energy.

From your point of view, what role does the gas infrastructure play in the aluminium industry – and vice versa, what role does aluminium play for the gas infrastructure?

Our infrastructure is colour-blind. Whatever your industry needs, we will provide depending on the availability of clean gases in the market. That’s why building our relationship as industries is key. The needs will differ from one region to another, and for that we’re working on tailored solutions.

To understand these needs better, we’ve developed a report which focuses on the different decarbonisation paths of EU countries. The report outlines the status of the energy transition in Central-Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. It included a comparative analysis of the national energy markets in the region and figures for key energy markets, current emissions and targets, main challenges and Member States strategies. The 3rd edition will be published by the end of the year.

We’re also currently working on a study that looks at ways to decarbonise the economy while maintaining security of supply. But will it be enough only with the domestic gas production? Not sure about it. That’s why we’re also working on a study that will shed light on the import needs of renewable and low-carbon gases, including hydrogen and hydrogen carriers. The results will be delivered by the end of the year, as well. 


About Roxana & GIE

Roxana has been the Deputy Secretary General of Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) since 2017. GIE is the voice of the European gas infrastructure operators, including gas pipelines, storage and LNG terminals. It has 68 member companies from 25 countries. Before joining GIE, she worked for the Romanian gas transmission operator Transgaz, where she was responsible for the company’s relations with the EU and national governments. She’s also worked in the Romanian Parliament as an advisor on international relations and economic affairs. Roxana holds a master’s degree in business administration and German. She has studied in Germany, Belgium and Russia. She was the coordinator of the now-defunct EU-Russia Gas Advisory Council. She is a visiting lecturer at the Bucharest Academy of Economic Affairs.




*adapted 17 October 2023