The European Commission has given approval for a €450 million Italian scheme to support the production of renewable hydrogen. The aim of the scheme is to promote the transition towards a net-zero economy in accordance with the Green Deal Industrial Plan.
The scheme was approved under the State aid Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework, which was adopted by the Commission on March 9th, 2023. The framework is designed to support measures in sectors that are key to accelerating the green transition and reducing fuel dependencies. The new framework amends and extends the Temporary Crisis Framework, which was adopted on March 23rd, 2022.
Under the Italian scheme, companies of all sizes in Italy will be eligible for support, with the exception of credit and other financial institutions. The scheme will finance investments in the integrated production of renewable hydrogen and renewable electricity in brownfield industrial areas. The projects will be selected through an open competitive bidding process, with public support taking the form of direct grants covering investment costs. The maximum amount of aid per project will be €20 million.
The Commission found that the Italian scheme complies with the conditions set out in the Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework. This includes the aid being granted on the basis of a scheme with an estimated volume and budget, the aid amount is determined through an open, clear, transparent, and non-discriminatory competitive bidding process, and the aid being granted before December 31st, 2025.
The Commission concluded that the Italian scheme is necessary, appropriate, and proportionate to accelerate the green transition and facilitate the development of certain economic activities. This is in line with Article 107(3)(c) TFEU and the conditions set out in the Temporary Crisis and Transition Framework. As such, the Commission approved the aid measure under EU State aid rules.