The Ministry of Ecological Transition has just made the provisional allocation of its first two calls of the Hydrogen PERTE. A volume of aid that will generate 890 million euros of investment and that has passed by the Basque Country because none of the projects that were presented from Euskadi has passed the sieve. Among the proposals that had been registered, several that came to reinforce the Basque Hydrogen Corridor project stood out: the development of gas and hydrogen mixtures to be distributed through the gas network promoted by Nortegas, the & Hydrogen& project promoted by the Basque Government or the & initiative that includes the transformation of the Boroa combined cycle plant into a green hydrogen generation facility.
Petronor's projects and the transformation of its Muskiz plant, on the other hand, do have community financing because they were processed through a route in which they were selected directly by the European Commission and which involves the installation of a 100 MW electrolyzer.
On December 1, the ministry headed by Teresa Ribera informed the companies of the provisional awarding of the aid included in one of the most important PERTEs in the distribution of European funds, with a total of 1,555 million euros. Twenty-nine projects have been chosen out of a total of 144 initiatives presented to distribute the first 250 million euros. Among those selected there is none in the Basque Country, while there are similar projects such as the one called & H2 Valley& with an allocation of 15 million and promoted by EDP. Or the creation of the green hydrogen plant promoted by BP in Castellón, with another 15 million euros, as well as the renewable generation of this gas in Puertollano sponsored by Repsol.
Iberdrola, Repsol, EDP and Enagas are the main beneficiaries, which will develop projects mainly in Andalusia, Galicia and Asturias. The initiatives that from Euskadi had been presented to these two calls -one is directed to pioneering projects and the other to the construction of electrolyzers- have been rejected in most of the cases by defects of form, in some cases by trifles like errors in the identification. Ministry sources have confirmed to EL DIARIO VASCO that the high demand had exceeded the budget allocations and that forced to make even a first screening before the provisional publication of aid, which were already excluded Basque initiatives. Thus, in the first line - pioneer projects - 127 initiatives were registered requesting a total aid of 746 million euros, much more than the 150 million euros allocated. While in the other -electrolyzers-, 17 proposals were presented with a subsidy request of 246 million, compared to the 100 million allocated in the call for proposals.
New calls for proposals
Through the Basque Hydrogen company, the Basque Government, together with Petronor or Nortegas, completed a partnership in which initiatives such as hydrogen and gas mixtures (already successfully carried out by Nortegas) or the application of hydrogen to the automotive industry through IBIL (another company promoted by the Basque Executive) were developed.
The Benorth consortium is another of the projects that has been left out. An initiative that brings together companies such as Sener and Nortegas to develop a renewable hydrogen plant in the current facilities of the Boroa combined cycle power plant, operated by Bizkaia Energía, and which is driven by the investment of White Summit Capital and CCI funds.
Sources from the Basque Government point out that the process is still in a non-final phase and confirm that they have already contacted the different companies to see the processes and the allegations that can be presented until the first weeks of 2023, which is when the final approval of these awards is expected.
The Ministry reminds that there are still other calls for tenders, although they are a more complicated fit, as well as to resolve the allegations that the companies may present. These new calls, however, will be delayed until 2023 and will not be resolved before 2024.