HYDROGEN POLICY: Portugal to speed up renewable hydrogen by easing permitting requirements

Gary Hornby


LONDON(ICIS)–The Portuguese government is aiming to speed up investment in renewable (green) hydrogen by removing the need for environmental impact assessments from March 2023.

In a press conference from 7 December, the Prime Minister of Portugal Antonio Costa said that the Simpler Environment package “is essential to speed up investments in order to stop climate change” and “reducing context costs is encouraging investment.”

Costa said that the target for electricity consumed from renewable sources had increased from 60% to 80% by the end of his tenure, and that the energy would be used to produce both renewable hydrogen and ammonia for “areas that are not susceptible to electrification.”

The Simpler Environment package is set to end environmental assessments for hydrogen produced from renewable sources and water electrolysis. As well as this, the package also eliminates the need for environmental assessments for solar plants that occupy less than 100 hectares and for wind farms with towers that are more than 2 kilometres apart.

The Portuguese Minister for the Environment and Climate Action Duarte Cordeiro said in the session that the Simpler Environment package “represents a major transformation in the environmental licensing process…all contributing to the fight against climate change.”

Portugal aims to be a net exporter of hydrogen in the coming years and originally has a target of 2GW of electrolysis capacity and a 15% hydrogen blend within the gas network by 2030 in the country’s hydrogen strategy.

Many market participants have told ICIS that regulation can hinder development in hydrogen infrastructure in several different ways, from being too based on fossil fuels to being overcomplicated to constantly changing.

However, regulation that is simple to understand and also stable could be a factor in aiding investment in the hydrogen economy, so the move from the Portuguese government could see a larger appetite for renewable hydrogen in the country.


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