A special event marked the beginning of construction of the new High Pressure natural gas pipeline to Western Macedonia, held on Thursday 23 of February in Kozani. The event for the new project that will bring multiple benefits for both Western and Central Macedonia was attended by the Regional Governor of Western Macedonia, Georgios Kasapidis, the Mayor of Kozani, Lazaros Maloutas and the CEO of DESFA, Maria Rita Galli. Τhe President of the Regulatory Authority for Energy, Athanasios Dagoumas, sent an official greeting.
The new 160-kilometer pipeline, with a budget of €163 million, ensures the smooth transition of the Central and Western Macedonia regions into the decarbonization era, providing access to natural gas to new areas and users and enabling the Central and Western Macedonia regions to play a leading role in the clean energy era.
This is the first pipeline in Greece and one of the first in European level capable of transporting up to 100% hydrogen. It aligns with DESFA's strategy for the development of the hydrogen market in Greece and the national strategy for decarbonizing the Greek energy system.
The natural gas pipeline, along with its branches, will traverse the Central and Western Macedonia regions, covering the Imathia, Pella, Kozani, and Florina Regional Units. The pipeline starts from Trikala (Imathia Regional Unit) and ends in Kardia (Kozani Regional Unit). This pipeline will provide natural gas to previously unserved areas, allowing new users (including industries, crafts, agriculture, and households) in the wider region to access it. Additionally, the construction of the Metering Station in the area of Kardia will supply the unified district heating system in Kozani, Ptolemaida, and Amyntaio, leading to a significant reduction in the carbon footprint of these areas and promoting environmental sustainability.
The construction of Metering and Regulatory Stations, as well as the development of Medium and Low-Pressure networks by DEDA, will directly or indirectly benefit several municipalities. The cities of Alexandria, Naoussa, Veria, Pella, Skydra, and Edessa in the Central Macedonia Region, and Eordaia, Kozani, and Amyntaio in the Western Macedonia Region will all benefit from the project. The new pipeline, along with its sub-branches, will provide natural gas to the following consumers:
• The cities of Edessa and Skydra in the Region of Central Macedonia through the Metering/Regulatory (M/R) station located near the settlement of Aspros.
• The cities of Naoussa and Veria in the Region of Central Macedonia through the Metering/Regulatory (M/R) stations located respectively near the settlements of Kopanos and Patrida.
• The city of Florina and the Florina Industrial Area, in the Region of Western Macedonia through the Metering/Regulatory (M/R) station located near the settlement of Perdikka.
• The district heating station in Kardia through the Measuring (M) station of Kardia.
The project includes tap-offs for:
• Future extension of the pipeline to the M/R station of Poria with the goal of supplying natural gas to the area of Kastoria through the expansion of the system.
• Supply of future consumers.
The project is expected to greatly enhance the growth of Central and Western Macedonia, play a crucial role in the economic stability of local communities, and lead to the creation of new indirect and direct employment opportunities through the attraction of new investments to the region.
In his greeting message, the President of the Regulatory Authority for Energy, Athanasios Dagoumas, noted: “The average Greek citizen perceives Western Macedonia as the energy center of the country; however, the most important capital of the region is its highly specialized staff who continuously serve the public interest.
Central and Western Macedonia is today called upon to shape a new strategic role. The energy transition creates challenges, where the penetration of natural gas, biomethane and hydrogen play a significant role. This new pipeline is the first infrastructure in Greece and one of the first in Europe to fully support the transport of renewable gases, such as hydrogen. As the Regulatory Authority for Energy, we approve and supervise the timely implementation of critical energy infrastructures, which together with other actions and the human capital of the area will hopefully create a model of regional development and fair transition”.
The Regional Governor of Western Macedonia, Georgios Kasapidis, stated: "The arrival of natural gas in Western Macedonia, through the new pipeline which will connect it to the national network, is a great achievement for the region, which came about as a result of coordinated efforts by the Regional Authority to persuade both the Ministry of Energy and DESFA of the need for the new pipeline.
The construction of the pipeline will allow for the development of a natural gas distribution point in Western Macedonia and in the Local Community of Perdikka of the Regional Unit of Kozani, supplying cities and individual points in our Region as well as the unified district heating system in Kozani, Ptolemaida and Amyntaio.
What's important for our region is that the pipeline is 100% compatible with the transport of hydrogen and will be a crucial infrastructure in our efforts to ensure that Western Macedonia remains the country's most important energy center in the post-lignite era, with the production of "green" hydrogen."
The Mayor of Kozani, Lazaros Maloutas, said: "Undoubtedly, the new natural gas pipeline with the possibility of transporting hydrogen is a project that serves both the period of transition to renewable energy sources and the period of climate neutrality. It is an important development infrastructure. It is a particularly important project given the selection of Kozani in the EU Mission for the 100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030".
The CEO of DESFA, Maria Rita Galli, said: "Today marks the beginning of the construction of the new High Pressure natural gas pipeline to West Macedonia, a project that opens new development prospects for both the regions of Central and West Macedonia, ensuring their smooth transition into a cleaner energy era, while providing access to natural gas to numerous new areas and users in the wider region. As the new pipeline is the first in Greece and one of the first in Europe designed as 100% ready for the transport of hydrogen, DESFA, not only further strengthens the energy interconnection of these regions, but starting from West Macedonia also creates an energy infrastructure ready to play a central role to the country’s future energy system, with multiple benefits for the area. More particularly, the new pipeline enables the production of green gases such as biomethane and hydrogen, creating new investment and job opportunities in the region, while further diversifying and strengthening the security of supply of Greece with sustainable energy.”