The Government revealed the PERTE for renewable energies, hydrogen and storage (ERHA) in mid-December 2021 and is “delayed” compared to what was expected in the distribution of funds, due to “the low level of commitment” regarding the program green hydrogen and at a “lower rate than expected” in the extensions of the transfers to the autonomous communities. This is clear from a report prepared by the Next Generation EU Unit of Llorente y Cuenta, and corroborated by other business sources, who claim that they have not yet received a single euro of the money raised.
To date, the Executive has launched five aid lines for 400 million euros. The last thing approved was last week in the Council of Ministers with 74 million euros in direct aid for specific projects in the green hydrogen value chain related to projects of community interest. They are initiatives of the companies H2B2, Sener, Nordex and Iveco, which will channel a total investment of 245 million.
The most important package arrived at the beginning of December of last year. It was the Prime Minister himself, Pedro Sánchez, who announced that the Executive had provisional resolutions to grant aid for 250 million euros for 29 green hydrogen production projects. These projects, which will imply the mobilization of a total investment of 890 million, will add 487 megawatts (MW), 12% of the objective that Spain had set for the production of green hydrogen in 2030, which involves the installation of boosters for less than 4 gigawatts (GW) of power.
Thus, the first two provisional resolutions of the PERTE ERHA aid lines for green hydrogen corresponding to the programs called Pioneers or Unique and Value Chain were published. After the period of allegations about the result, the final resolution is pending. Among the successful bidders are the main companies in the country in the energy sector, such as Repsol, Iberdrola, Cepsa, Endesa, EDP or Enagás, among others, which are waiting for the funds to be released definitively, as they have already done in other European countries.
“To assess the rate of commitment of the ministries, we must compare what was initially expected of them and what is actually happening. Of the ministries with the greatest prominence, the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge is the one that lags the furthest behind relative to what was expected in the commitment of funds due, possibly, to the low level of commitment of the funds of the green hydrogen program and a lower rate than expected in the extensions of the transfers to the autonomous communities, ”says the Llyc report.
According to the consultant’s estimates, of the total funds managed directly by the General State Administration (AGE), some 37.7% of the total committed funds have reached the real economy. In this sense, sources in the sector fear that the distribution of money will take a long time and certain projects may be jeopardized due to the lack of investment in a context of energy crisis, in which many companies have been forced to sell minority stakes in renewable projects to continue growing.
“If we look only at the resolved calls (which account for 54.27% of the 23,064 million euros committed for calls), the percentage of what was awarded increases to 71.40% of what was committed, while in the case of tenders resolved (which represent around 45% of the 6,081 million euros committed for state tenders), we estimate that it would be close to 75% of what was committed”, the authors of the document point out.
Renewable hydrogen has become a basic pillar within the country for Spain. In fact, the country already has a portfolio of renewable hydrogen projects of more than 15.5 GW. Specifically, there are already a total of 80 projects throughout the country in the country, although they are mainly focused on the southern, Cantabrian and Mediterranean coasts because they are more industrialized areas and have more possibilities of adopting this technology.
Recovery Plan Addendum
Without having assigned 100% of the funds, the Secretary of State for Energy, Sara Aagesen, has said that she hopes that in the negotiation with the European Union (EU) of the addendum to the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, the more additional funding for hydrogen as soon as possible.
A sample of the existing interest in ‘green’ hydrogen is the existing race for all the great energies in the country for the development of projects. Cepsa has presented its plans to build the largest green hydrogen project in Europe in Andalusia with an investment of 3,000 million euros. The Andalusian Green Hydrogen Valley will involve the commissioning of two new plants, with a capacity of 2 GW and a production of up to 300,000 tons of green hydrogen, in its Campo de Gibraltar (Cádiz) and Palos de la Frontera (Cádiz) Energy Parks. Huelva). In addition, the project will be accompanied by an additional investment of 2,000 million euros for the development of a portfolio of projects of 3 GW of wind and solar energy to generate renewable electricity.
For its part, Repsol leads the Shyne project, in which it plans to allocate investments of more than 2,200 million euros, which has goals to install 500 megawatts (MW) in 2025 and 2 GW in 2030. Iberdrola has launched together with Fertiberia, a comprehensive project that includes the development of 800 MW of green hydrogen with an investment of 1,800 million euros until 2027.
Endesa will also develop green hydrogen generation facilities in As Pontes (Galicia), thanks to the project that promotes up to 100 MW of electrolyser that will be supplied with wind projects in the area that already have connection rights. Similarly, Naturgy has an alliance with Exolum, called ‘Win4H2’ to develop a network of 50 hydrogen plants throughout the country.
Enagás will begin this year the development of four future renewable hydrogen interconnections, which will require an investment of close to 7,200 million euros in the national territory. The first of these samples of interest will be linked to the hydrogen transport axis that will run along the Vía de la Plata. Spain is expected to have an export potential of two million tons per year, which would be equivalent to around 10% of European demand in 2030.