Spain is mobilized to claim its position as the world's first renewable hydrogen hub . Energy groups, industrial companies and administrations are working to create the necessary ecosystem to embrace the green hydrogen revolution -which has no CO2 emissions because it uses electricity from renewable energies for its generation- as part of the country'senergy transition.
The government of Pedro Sanchez has proposed to take advantage of the manna of European funds to boost this fabric of research, development, production and use cases of the new energy. The Executive has already implemented five aid programs for projects linked to green hydrogen under the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR) and has encountered a veritable flood of applications that far exceed the planned budget. And now it intends to give a new impulse with another millionaire aid package.
The Ministry for Ecological Transition, through the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE), has already executed subsidy distribution processes with a joint budget of 340 million euros in aid to finance part of the companies' projects. The department headed by the vice-president Teresa Ribera is hurrying before the early elections of 23J and is launching a new aid program for an additional 150 million before the end of the legislature.
The Government has launched the second edition of the incentive program for pioneering renewable hydrogen projects to encourage innovative projects with commercial viability of production and local consumption of green hydrogen, especially oriented to sectors in which decarbonization byelectrification is more difficult, such as some sectors of large industry or heavy transport.
In the first edition of the pioneer projects aid scheme, 19 projects were granted subsidies, but it received an avalanche of applications for 746 million, five times the planned allocation, from a total of 127 applications. Among the subsidized projects are several from Iberdrola, EDP, Cepsa, Enagás Renovable or Redexis, with grants of between 4 and 15 million for each of the initiatives, which cover green hydrogen generation projects for the chemical industry or to replace natural gas inother industrial processes or for use in heavy mobility.
The five grant programs activated so far (not counting the one unveiled on Tuesday) the Ministry for Ecological Transition has distributed aid for 340 million, but the calls have attracted an avalanche of applications submitted requesting aid for more than 1,100 million euros, more than three times the budgeted amount. These five programs launched have granted aid to a total of 63 projects, but there have been more than 200 initiatives that have opted for subsidies from the European funds of the Recovery Plan, which has forced a massive sifting of applications.
Leading the boom
Spain wants to join the expected renewable hydrogen boom. Energy groups are preparing dozens of projects for green hydrogen production plants; industrial groups are looking for ways to reconvert their production processes to use it or how to smooth its use as a fuel in all types of transport; and the Government has been promoting a network of large hydroproduct corridors, both domestic and international, to transport the future energy.
A year ago, the government launched the strategic project for economic recovery and transformation (PERTE) linked to renewable energies and green hydrogen, initially endowed with 6.9 billion euros of European funds and later expanded to 7.9 billion, and which seeks to mobilize a further 16 billion euros of private investment. As part of the plan, 1,555 million of public funds are earmarked for renewable hydrogen to mobilize another 2,800 million of private capital, so that Spain can play a relevant role in the green hydrogen revolution.
The Executive is preparing an update of the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC), the roadmap towards decarbonization until 2030, which will establish which technologies will be used to produce electricity over the next decade, and has already anticipated that it will raise the renewable targets set so far, including those for green hydrogen. At the moment, with the current plan, Spain aspires to achieve a green hydrogen production capacity of 4 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, which would be 10% of the target set so far by the European Union in its hydrogen strategy for the entire continent.