Last week, businesses and government bodies in the Northern Netherlands presented their investment plan for hydrogen in their region to various Dutch MPs.
The plan includes investments totaling up to 9 billion euros and could secure some 66,000 existing jobs in areas like gas infrastructure and mobility and help create between 25,000 (in 2030) and 41,000 (in 2050) new jobs in areas like maintenance and operations.
The parties in the Northern Netherlands want to play a pioneering role in this area, ahead of implementation throughout the rest of the country and Europe. The companies are ready to jointly develop more than 50 projects spanning the entire supply chain (production, transmission, storage, and end-use). The plans will be implemented in stages, but before they can be developed further, in 2021 the Dutch government will need to approve additional capacity for offshore wind energy and provide a regulatory framework and financial support.
Significant steps have already been taken in recent years, and sizeable investments in hydrogen have been made in the northern reaches of the Netherlands. International companies like Engie, Equinor, Gasunie, RWE, Shell, and Vattenfall, as well as SMEs, have already committed themselves to various hydrogen projects, and this trend is gaining momentum. Regional and local authorities have increased their commitment to making the hydrogen supply chain in the northern Dutch provinces a reality.
In the north of the country, the parties involved are asking the politicians to support and facilitate these billion-euro investments. New regulations and financing are needed to ease the way for the developments and to accelerate the construction of offshore wind farms. Those involved at the highest political level in the Netherlands have also asserted their commitment to the development of green hydrogen, not only in and for the northern parts of the Netherlands, but especially throughout the Netherlands and Europe. The investments in the north of the country and the experience gained – with this ‘Hydrogen Valley’ serving as a testing ground, – are the prelude to a national roll-out specific to the other regions, and will ensure that the Netherlands plays a pivotal role in Europe.
Green hydrogen will be a key component of sustainable energy usage in the future and will be essential for the greening of industry and mobility. This also makes it an attractive emerging industry, with not only global, but also regional and local benefits. Green hydrogen as a feedstock and fuel is needed to achieve the Dutch and global climate goals, while simultaneously improving air quality.
The Netherlands has a leading position in the European gas industry. Our knowledge and experience give us a good start to accelerate hydrogen developments and lead this emerging industry. A prominent Dutch hydrogen industry has the potential to attract international companies, investments and talent.
In recent years, the Northern Netherlands has been fully committed to the development of hydrogen ecosystems. This has gained the region European recognition (FCH JU), and it is now acknowledged as the leading Hydrogen Valley in Europe: a fully-developed ecosystem of green hydrogen, from its production and transmission to its use in industry, mobility and the built environment. The unique characteristics of the northern parts of the Netherlands have contributed to this achievement. The region offers great potential for large-scale wind energy and has sufficient production locations. The gas infrastructure is already in place and the region has both access to the market and knowledge of and experience with the transmission of gases and the trade in these.
Especially now, when the economy could use a boost, and with the sharper focus on the climate goals, hydrogen offers the Netherlands an opportunity to make the transition from natural gas to sustainable energy.
Source: New Energy Coalition