The European Commission has approved state aid worth €5.2bn for a second wave of hydrogen related Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI), helping to reduce dependence on natural gas and accelerate the hydrogen economy.
The IPCEI wave, called Hy2Use, provides support to projects on two main areas: first, hydrogen-related infrastructure, namely large-scale electrolysers – totalling 3.5GW for an annual output of 340,000 tons of hydrogen – and infrastructure for the production, storage, and transport of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen. Second, innovative technologies for the integration of hydrogen into industrial processes, in sectors such as steel, cement and glass.
Hy2Use was prepared and notified by thirteen European Member States: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden. It also includes two Norwegian projects. These countries will provide up to €5.2 billion in public funding, which is expected to unlock an additional €7 billion in private investment, for the development of 35 schemes across Europe.
Hydrogen Europe welcomes this decision and the fact it aligns with the objectives of key EU policy initiatives such as the European Green Deal, the EU Hydrogen Strategy and the REPowerEU Plan. The large-scale roll-out of impactful hydrogen schemes will lay the path for future projects to be developed faster and at lower costs. Hydrogen Europe underlines the importance of IPCEIs in the roll out of the hydrogen economy and encourages Member States to notify subsequent IPCEI waves under preparation as soon as possible.
The Member States will support 29 companies, including SMEs and start-ups, in the delivery of this wave. Many of these companies are Hydrogen Europe members.
With this IPCEI, Europe will transition from early-stage support of key technologies to their scale up and impactful deployment. It is the second of four Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) that channel funding from EU governments to companies.
It follows “Hy2Tech”, the first IPCEI, which received state aid approval in July for up to €5.4 billion in public funding, which is expected to unlock an additional €8.8 billion in private investments.
Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO of Hydrogen Europe, commented: “We are delighted to see the second wave of IPCEI projects secure approval. These projects come at the perfect moment as we strive to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Given the importance of renewable hydrogen production, adequate storage, and transport infrastructure to a future hydrogen market, we very much welcome the €5.2bn greenlit by the European Commission to support these projects”.
He added: “I am confident that today’s IPCEI announcement will help mobilise additional private and public funding for the scale up of renewable hydrogen production and use in the industrial sector. De-risking industry efforts remains a key challenge to secure the private investments needed to quickly reduce EU dependency from fossil fuels and speed up emission reductions. With two IPCEIs now notified, and more on the way, we expect increasingly ambitious cooperation between European member states.”
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