The creation of the European Hydrogen Bank, announced a little over a year ago by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, was a watershed moment for Europe’s hydrogen economy. On top of the important regulatory work being done to create the framework for this nascent market, we now had a much-needed support scheme administered at the European level for the continent’s first major hydrogen projects.
The terms and conditions of this bank were published at the end of August, with the most welcome announcement that the bank’s pilot auction would be launched at the end of November with a budget of €800 million. This date also happens to coincide with the European Hydrogen Week event in Brussels!
The bank will offer project developers a subsidy for every kilogram of hydrogen produced of up to €4.5 per kilo. This will help us establish a domestic supply of this much needed molecule – which can be used in a wide range of sectors to help us decarbonise our economy, from industry and mobility to power production and storage.
This fantastic opportunity for Europe’s leaders in this innovative sector will help their projects reach final investment decisions and get to producing hydrogen as quickly as possible, creating the market, and helping to bring prices down as they show the best path to those who will come after them.
As mentioned, this auction is only the pilot. Success here will lead to more auctions being announced, hopefully with more funds available so that we can accelerate the scale up of this crucial industry.
Soon, polluting processes like steelmaking, fertilisers, and cement will be decarbonised with domestically produced green hydrogen. Long-range trucks, distributing essential goods to people across Europe, will fill up on clean hydrogen on their journeys. And renewable energy producers will be able to use hydrogen as a means of storage to avoid wasting power where it would otherwise be curtailed! For example, Germany lost €4.2 billion worth of renewable power last year to curtailment – letting excess renewable generation go to waste due to a lack of grid capacity. Hydrogen will save us money and provide us with more energy security.
The most important thing for the development of the hydrogen economy is ensuring a steady supply of it in Europe. That is where the bank comes in. Then, the ever-growing base of hydrogen users and value chain stakeholders will be able to confidently expand their operations, strike new agreements and partnerships, and build out capacity.
These stakeholders will have their innovations and breakthroughs on full display at the European Hydrogen Week, taking place on 20-24 November at Brussels Expo Centre. With over 140 exhibitioners, visitors to this absolutely free event will be able to check out first hand the sort of technology that the Hydrogen Bank will be supporting, and how it will help us achieve net zero by 2050.
President von der Leyen, who first announced the bank, will be at the event, along with newly appointed executive vice president Maroš Šefčovič, to kick off the European Hydrogen Week and see the lift off of this first pilot auction. It will be a landmark week for the hydrogen economy, and we hope to see as many of you there as possible. The energy transition is in full swing, and Europe is committed to leading the way here, with hydrogen as a key enabler of the important changes we will need to see happen.