Unveiled by the European Commission at the end of May, 2020, the €750bn Next Generation EU recovery plan contains five key points, including a European Green Deal. The deal highlights the EU’s ambition to become the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050. This will involve major investments in high impact headline projects such as the development of renewable hydrogen.
Portugal and Spain are thus launching ambitious projects to produce this clean source of energy.
On 14th August 2020, Portugal approved its renewable hydrogen strategy for the period 2020-2050 as part of its 2021-2030 National Energy and Climate Plan. Portugal hopes to create the conditions in which green hydrogen can contribute to the economy’s decarbonisation, particularly in the industrial and transport sectors.
A government call elicited 74 expressions of interest in developing projects, from green hydrogen production to transport, representing an investment of €16bn.
Among the projects already underway in Portugal, the national power company EDP is setting up a pilot plant to produce and store hydrogen at its combined cycle facility at Ribatejo. Costing €12.6M, the plant will include a 1 MW electrolyser with a storage capacity of 12 MWh.
A site has been set aside at the Sines Industrial Zone on which to build an industrial-scale production unit and green hydrogen storage and transport facilities, with the potential to host other projects. The town’s port already hosts a methane terminal and the country’s largest coal power station, which is due to cease production in 2021. Sines aims to become a hub for green hydrogen exports.
The Spanish government validated its renewable hydrogen roadmap at the beginning of October, 2020. The roadmap contains 60 measures spread over the 2021-2030 period and represents an investment of €8.9bn. If most of this investment is due to be covered by the private sector, the government has indicated it will finance projects that create employment.
The plan calls for the construction of electrolysers of a total capacity of 4 GW (with a first tranche of 300 to 600 MW by 2024). The green hydrogen produced will replace 25% of the 500,000 tonnes of fossil hydrogen used each year in Spanish industry.
On the transport side, the Spanish roadmap includes the creation of around a hundred green hydrogen filling stations by 2030, primarily for the rail and heavy goods vehicle sectors. Over the same period, the government also aims to bring into service 150 buses and 5000 light vehicles running on renewable hydrogen.