Nel, along with more than 20 other major companies, submitted a letter to European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, urging the EU to encourage the creation of a fully European renewable hydrogen value chain.
The letter was issued prior of the European Commission’s communication on the “Green Deal Industrial Plan”.
The letter highlights the need of providing European firms with a level playing field and combating de-industrialization. A total of €10 billion in EU public funding has been made available to renewable hydrogen projects, with some of the funds going to non-European rivals.
“Reflecting our collective ambition to become the world leaders in renewable hydrogen, the EU and its Member States have made great efforts and have committed significant financial capital, most recently through the IPCEI scheme. However, European money is finding its way into the hands of non-European based competitors. Already, the first electrolyser project with stacks made in China has been installed in Europe. We need to ensure that future funding mechanisms such as the EU Sovereignty Fund and/or the Hydrogen Bank support the development of the electrolyser manufacturing industry in Europe. EU tax-payers money ought to be reinvested in Europe for the benefit of Europeans,” the letter states.
EU legislators are being urged to ensure that taxpayer funds are used to assist the growth of the European electrolyser manufacturing industry and jobs.
“Now more than ever, we need to maintain European technological leadership in electrolysers to ensure energy security and industrial competitiveness. We must learn from previous lessons such as the case of the solar industry. Our EU hydrogen policy is as much about energy security and climate policy as it is about industrial policy,” the companies wrote in the letter.
In addition, the letter requests that the European Commission examine environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues as well as European norms when establishing future funding tools and pre-qualification requirements. Projects should also contribute considerably to employment creation and centers of excellence, as well as contain sustainability standards such as recycling obligations and CO2 footprint.