Spain aspires to establish itself as the first global centre for renewable hydrogen.
Energy companies are putting together a number of projects for green hydrogen production facilities, which don’t emit any CO2 because they get their electricity from renewable sources; industrial groups are looking for a way to adapt their production methods to use it; and the government is pushing for a network of sizable internal and external hydroducts to transport future energy.
The goal is to build an industrial and energy ecosystem that will embrace the green hydrogen revolution as part of the nation’s energy transformation, and to achieve this, it attempts to capitalise on the wealth of European funds to advance this network of study, development, production, and application. Under the Recovery, Transformation, and Resilience Plan (PRTR), the government has opened five aid programmes for projects involving green hydrogen, and a veritable deluge of applications has been received that much exceeds the budgeted amount.
According to an analysis, the Ministry for Ecological Transition activated grant distribution processes through the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE) with a joint budget of 340 million euros in aid to finance a portion of the companies’ projects. However, the calls attracted an avalanche of petitions submitted requesting aid for more than 1,100 million euros, more than triple what was budgeted.
Aid has been given to a total of 63 projects through the five programmes that were launched (four of which have already been definitively resolved, and one of which only has a provisional decision that is still open to criticism). However, more than 200 initiatives chose to use the subsidies charged to the European funds of the Recovery Plan, necessitating a thorough screening of the applications.
With a budget of 150 million euros, the greatest aid plan for cutting-edge hydrogen (H2) projects has funded 19 projects with subsidies, but it has also received 746 million in additional help requests—five times the amount anticipated—from a total of 127 applicants. Several initiatives from Iberdrola, EDP, Cepsa, Enagás Renovable, or Redexis are among the projects that have received financial support, with each receiving between 4 and 15 million for each of the initiatives that include green hydrogen generation projects for the chemical industry, natural gas replacement in other industrial processes, or use in heavy mobility.
There are four distinct streams in the assistance programme for initiatives in the hydrogen value chain. The six ventures chosen under Line 1 of incentives, which include building factories to produce electric power plants and hydrogen generators, storage systems, or the installation of test platforms for hydrogen technologies, will get funding totaling 11.9 million. And Line 2 has been used to distribute 37.52 million to 12 hydrogen-powered mobility projects created by organisations like Airbus, Talgo in partnership with Repsol and Sener, Alstom in partnership with Adif, Enagás in partnership with Repsol, or supersonic aircraft powered by hydrogen created by the Destinus group.
Line 3 plans to divide 100 million euros among seven projects to design and produce huge electrolyzers, which are used to carry out the process of separating water from molecules of hydrogen and oxygen with electricity. But, 25 bids have been submitted asking for aid of 353 million. Endesa, the Iberdrola and BP alliance, Repsol with two projects (one in alliance with Naturgy), EDP engages in five projects, Cepsa or Acciona with two initiatives, and Repsol with two projects each have each received a 15 million subsidy.
Last but not least, Line 4 of aid anticipates the distribution of 40 million for 19 projects after receiving a total of 43 proposals that ask for funding for research, the creation of pilot programmes, innovations, and the training of personnel in key technologies. This is even with only a provisional resolution proposal from the IDAE. Projects with Iberdrola, Siemens Gamesa and Hiperbaric, Acerinox, or Ingeteam are among those that have tentatively been selected.
The government started the strategic project for economic recovery and transformation (PERTE) involving green hydrogen and renewable energy sources a year ago. It was initially funded with 6,900 million euros in European funds but later increased to 7,900 million and aims to attract an additional 16,000 million in private investment. In order for Spain to play a significant part in the green hydrogen revolution, the plan allocates 1,555 million public money to renewable hydrogen in order to raise an additional 2,800 million in private capital.