Greek hydrogen projects move closer to EU funding
LONDON (ICIS)–Five Greek hydrogen projects have moved closer to European Union funding after the country’s energy ministry approved their participation in the first wave of important projects of common European interest (IPCEI), said an official statement on Monday.
In the next stage of assessment, the projects need to “prove to the European Commission they are technically and financially mature, in accordance with the IPCEI criteria,” added the statement. The five projects need to show in particular:
- Significantly contribute to strategic EU objectives
- Involve several EU countries
- Involve private financing by the beneficiaries
- Generate positive spillover effects across the EU
In December 2020, 22 EU countries and Norway signed a manifesto paving the way for a cleaner hydrogen value chain and committing to launch IPCEIs in the hydrogen sector. IPCEI investment is meant to enable the scale up of hydrogen production projects.
In February, the commission proposed changes on state aid for IPCEIs “to further facilitate the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in these projects,” said a statement at the time. The adoption of the new IPCEI rules is planned for the end of 2021.
This comes as the European Council has to date approved 18 member state recovery and resilience facility (RRF) funding packages, amounting to €10bn of funding for hydrogen, with the majority of countries focusing exclusively green hydrogen initiatives.
The five projects include:
- White Dragon – a green hydrogen project set to support the phase out 2.1GW of lignite-fired capacity by 2029. The 250,000 tonnes of hydrogen/year project aims to use large-scale solar capacity to produce green hydrogen by electrolysis in the region of Western Macedonia for use in Greek heating and power, with an overall goal of replacing lignite plants .
- Blue Med – a project dedicated to production of blue and green hydrogen set to start in 2025.
- Green HIPo – US-based Advent Technologies Holdings project for the construction of a plant to produce innovative electrolytes and fuel cells in Western Macedonia.
- H2CAT TANKS – project for the construction of hydrogen storage, especially for the transport sector.
- H2CEM – TITAN – a project for the production, storage and use of green hydrogen for combustion to produce energy in furnaces with the aim of carbonizing the cement plants of the Greek firm TITAN.
The five projects are set to boost Greece’s energy strategy. The country aims to exit its coal capacity by 2028 and hydrogen is expected to play an important role in the further decarbonisation of the Greek energy mix and boost the country’s energy transition.
Greece is also planning to design a hydrogen and battery storage framework by the end of the year, according to plans revealed by the energy ministry in April.
Hydrogen has been a key topic for Greek market participants and local utilities this year.
Greece could produce up to 500MW of blue hydrogen by 2030 , while the creation of a hydrogen index is set to attract trading interest, market participants said during an energy conference on 4 June.
On 24 June, the shareholders at Hellenic Gas Transmission System Operator (DESFA) approved €500m loan package for infrastructure investments between 2021-2030 including a €110m support for the White Dragon project.
Greek industrial group MYTILINEOS, renewable developer PPC Renewables and infrastructure investor Copelouzos Group announced plans to planning to invest in potential hydrogen projects by 2030.
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