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The Spanish Government Approves the “Hydrogen Roadmap: a Commitment to Renewable Hydrogen”

By October 6, 2020 10   min read  (1742 words)

October 6, 2020 |

The Spanish Government has approved the “Hydrogen Roadmap: a commitment to renewable hydrogen”.

With this planning, the Government is promoting the deployment of this sustainable energy vector, which will be key to Spain achieving climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest. The development of renewable hydrogen will promote the creation of innovative industrial value chains in the country, technological knowledge and the generation of sustainable employment, contributing to the reactivation towards a high added value green economy.

Green hydrogen will be key for Spain to achieve climate neutrality and a 100% renewable electricity system no later than 2050

  • The deployment of green hydrogen will encourage the development of innovative industrial value chains in our country, generating employment and economic activity, which will contribute to the reactivation of a green economy with high added value
  • The Roadmap includes national targets for the implementation of renewable hydrogen by 2030, including 4 gigawatts of installed power from electrolyzers. An intermediate milestone is incorporated for 2024: having an installed capacity of between 300 and 600 MW
  • The Roadmap foresees a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 4.6 million tons of CO2 equivalent
  • The document also analyzes the potential of hydrogen between 2030 and 2050 and concludes that Spain has the capacity to create a country project around renewable hydrogen, which promotes national industry, technological knowledge and job creation. This will strengthen the leadership role in renewable energy generation.
  • The Council of Ministers, at the proposal of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO), today approved the “Hydrogen Roadmap: a commitment to renewable hydrogen”.
  • With this planning, the Government promotes the deployment of this sustainable energy vector, which will be key for Spain to achieve climate neutrality, with a 100% renewable electricity system, no later than 2050.
  • The development of renewable hydrogen will encourage the creation of chains of innovative industrial value in our country, technological knowledge and the generation of sustainable employment, contributing to the reactivation of a green economy with high added value.

The document, whose development is contemplated in the Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC) 2021-2030, includes 60 measures and sets national objectives – aligned with the European Hydrogen Strategy – to 2030. Among others, 4 gigawatts (GW) of installed power of electrolysers, a minimum of 25% of hydrogen consumption by the industry must be renewable and the implementation of hydrogenerators, trains and heavy transport vehicles powered by this product.

The achievement of the 2030 objectives reflected in the Roadmap will make it possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4.6 million tons of CO 2 equivalent (CO 2 eq).

Finally, the Roadmap anticipates a vision of what the role of hydrogen will be in the next three decades, in which Spain seeks to lead a country project towards a decarbonized economy, in such a way as to promote the innovative value chain, knowledge applied by the industry, the development of pilot projects throughout the national territory and the support to the zones of just transition.

THE POTENTIAL OF HYDROGEN

Hydrogen is not a primary source of energy, as the sun or the wind can be, but an energy vector, that is, a manufactured product that is capable of storing energy so that it can be gradually released later. In the event that renewable energies are used in their manufacture, the hydrogen obtained will be considered “green hydrogen” or “renewable hydrogen”.

The Roadmap identifies this energy vector as a key sustainable solution for the decarbonization of the economy and the development of industrial value chains and R & D & i, thus becoming one of the levers of economic reactivation linked to the energy transition , along with other areas such as renewable deployment, sustainable and connected mobility or energy renovation of buildings.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR SPAIN

In this sense, the Roadmap identifies the opportunities that the promotion of national production and the application of renewable hydrogen represent for Spain.

In the first place, the commitment to renewable hydrogen will activate the development of value chains. New opportunities are being opened for the generation of sustainable employment and economic activity in areas such as the manufacture of electrolyzer assemblers, fuel cells, components (electronics, control, automotive, mechanics), vehicles, shipyards, pressure tanks, hydrogenerators or renewable hydrogen production plants, as well as their management, large-scale storage solutions, equipment for the transport of hydrogen or mobility services based on renewable hydrogen.

This strengthening of the value chain will be accompanied by greater Spanish energy R + D + i, which will also become a pillar for sustainable economic development. In this regard, the Spanish Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation 2021-2027, includes among its national R & D & I strategic lines the application of renewable hydrogen in industry and as a resource for climate change and decarbonization.

Green hydrogen will be key in the path that the country has taken to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for climate change, as well as other pollutants linked to segments such as transportation, power generation and the industrial sector. In fact, the Roadmap highlights the potential of renewable hydrogen to decarbonise sectors or processes with greater decarbonisation complexity, such as air transport or industrial processes that require high temperatures.

In addition, the document highlights its potential to accelerate renewable deployment in our country, with the associated positive effects of a greater presence of renewable energies in the system on electricity prices and on industrial competitiveness. In this area, the Roadmap underlines its role in the development of smart grids and, especially, to store renewable energy on a large scale and on a seasonal basis, providing manageability to the system. This deployment will be in line with the Storage Strategy, the draft of which is currently being finalized by MITECO.

These two factors, according to the Roadmap, will make hydrogen one of the main assets to make Spain one of the European powers in renewable generation. Added to this is the implementation of other technologies, such as those that will be included in the Roadmap for the development of Offshore Wind and Marine Energies in Spain, also in the preparation phase, and which will promote a radical change to the current energy paradigm, consolidating a 100% renewable electricity system no later than 2050.

Another aspect highlighted by the Roadmap is the potential of renewable hydrogen to favor the decarbonisation of isolated energy systems, with special attention to island territories.

GOALS TO 2030

The Roadmap proposes national objectives to promote renewable hydrogen by 2030 and, based on them, designs a vision for 2050, when Spain will achieve climate neutrality and have a 100% renewable electricity system. The objectives are consistent with the targets set by the European Commission in its Hydrogen Strategy. Are these:

  • Production: 4 GW of installed electrolysis power –the renewable hydrogen production system using clean energy and water–, which represents 10% of the target set by the European Commission for the whole of the EU. Additionally, as an intermediate milestone, it is estimated that by 2024 it would be possible to have an installed power of electrolyzers of between 300 and 600 MW.
  •  25% of industrial hydrogen consumption will be of renewable origin in 2030. Currently, the industry uses practically all of the 500,000 tons of hydrogen that Spain consumes annually. Most of the product used is hydrogen of fossil origin (or gray hydrogen), that is, it uses natural gas as a raw material in its production. For every kilogram of renewable hydrogen that replaces an existing non-renewable hydrogen consumption, 9 kg of CO 2 is saved into the atmosphere.
  • Regarding mobility, by 2030, a fleet of at least 150 buses is planned; 5,000 light and heavy vehicles; and 2 lines of commercial trains powered by renewable hydrogen. Similarly, a network should be implemented with a minimum of 100 hydrogen and machinery for handling propelled with hydrogen in the first 5 ports and airports.

Based on these objectives, the Roadmap anticipates the changes that will occur in the hydrogen economy beyond 2030 and up to 2050. The document highlights that, once this decade is over, there will be an acceleration in the production and application of hydrogen renewable hydrogen in Spain, which will be fully competitive compared to other production technologies. This fact will facilitate the expansion of renewable hydrogen consumption in sectors that are difficult to decarbonize and in new applications, including maritime and air transport, and high-temperature industrial energy processes. Finally, due to its potential as a producer, the Roadmap foresees that Spain could become an exporter of renewable hydrogen to the rest of Europe.

60 MEASURES

The document proposes a set of 60 measures, grouped into four areas of action. In the first place, regulatory actions are included that include, among others, the introduction of a system of guarantees of origin that ensures that hydrogen has been produced from 100% renewable energy. A second chapter is dedicated to sectoral measures to encourage the use of renewable hydrogen and the implementation of projects in areas such as industrial, energy or mobility.

On the other hand, the Roadmap includes transversal measures to promote knowledge of the potential of renewable hydrogen in society as a whole; and, finally, the promotion of R + D + I linked to these technologies is addressed.

Among other measures, the Roadmap will promote the design of financial instruments to support the Spanish industry that consumes intensive hydrogen for the adaptation of its processes and infrastructures to the continuous supply of renewable hydrogen. Likewise, the current hydrogen consumption poles will be identified, promoting and encouraging the creation of “ hydrogen valleys ”; and the constitution of Industrial Hydrogen Tables will be promoted together with autonomous communities, local administrations, hydrogen consumers and promoters of renewable hydrogen production projects.

Likewise, measures are included to promote the national development of electrolyzers of great power (100 MW), as well as to promote their mass manufacture and the application of new materials; and to promote R & D & i throughout the hydrogen value chain , so that Spanish science and companies can participate in its development, which will allow the creation of knowledge and competitive advantages, including the Spanish automotive industry, rail, sea and air transport. In this regard, an exclusive line of financing will be created for projects in the renewable hydrogen value chain in the successive State Plans for Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation.

On the other hand, new energy nuclei for the production of renewable hydrogen will be promoted to help prevent rural depopulation and achieve the demographic challenge objectives, with special attention to the just transition regions.

The Roadmap concludes by identifying the different financing instruments for its deployment, which include funds from the EU Next Generation and the Clean Hydrogen Alliance, created by the European Commission. Likewise, the document incorporates an annex with hydrogen projects identified in Spain.

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