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800 mln euros in subsidies under the Commission’s first European Hydrogen Bank auction

The European Commission launched the first auction under the European Hydrogen Bank to support the production of renewable hydrogen in Europe, with an initial 800 million euros of emissions trading revenues, channelled through the Innovation Fund. Producers of renewable hydrogen can bid for support in the form of a fixed premium per kilogram of hydrogen produced. The premium is intended to bridge the gap between the price of production and the price consumers are currently willing to pay, in a market where non-renewable hydrogen is still cheaper to produce.

The Hydrogen Bank complements other policy tools to build a market for renewable hydrogen, stimulate investments in the production capacity and bring production to scale. Renewable hydrogen has a critical role to play in Europe’s future energy mix, in particular for the decarbonisation of heavy industry and some transport sectors, replacing fossil fuels. By enabling a faster rollout of innovative hydrogen technologies the pilot auction will contribute to the REPowerEU Plan goal to produce 10 million tonnes of hydrogen domestically by 2030.

Under the pilot auction, producers of renewable hydrogen, as defined in the Renewable Energy Directive and its Delegated Acts, can submit bids for EU support for a certain volume of hydrogen production. The bids should be based on a proposed price premium per kilogram of renewable hydrogen produced, up to a ceiling of 4.5 euros/kilogram. Bids up to this price and which also comply with other qualification requirements, will be ranked from the lowest to the highest bid price and will be awarded support in that order until the auction budget is exhausted. The selected projects will receive the awarded subsidy on top of the market revenues that they generate from hydrogen sales, for up to 10 years. Once projects have signed their grant agreements, they will have to start producing renewable hydrogen within five years.

Cumulation with other types of aid from participating Member States will not be possible, to ensure a level playing field for all projects regardless of location. This will prevent fragmentation at the early stages of the European hydrogen market and reduce administrative costs for upcoming national hydrogen support schemes.

The Commission is also offering a new Auctions-as-a-service mechanism under the Hydrogen Bank. This will enable Member States to finance projects which have bid in the auction but have not been selected for Innovation Fund support due to budget limitations. This allows them to award national funding to additional projects on their territory, without the need to run a separate auction at the national level, reducing the administrative burden and cost for all parties. Member States’ participation in the Auctions-as-a-service scheme is voluntary and project developers must also express their interest in it during their application to be eligible. The scheme could play a significant role by preventing the segmentation of the market and incentive schemes.

“Today’s launch is about connecting supply and demand for renewable hydrogen,” said Maroš Šefčovič, Executive Vice-President for European Green Deal, Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight. “It is about creating transparency about price points, which will help kickstart a European hydrogen market. In turn, this will help accelerate the EU’s clean energy transition while maintaining our competitiveness and preserving Europe’s position as a leading global economic power. We are hoping for a positive response from the market, and also from Member States who are considering taking part in Auctions-as-service. The European Hydrogen Bank is a great opportunity to support European industry’s net-zero transition.”

Bidders have until 8 February 2024 to apply via the EU Funding and Tenders Portal. Project promoters are strongly encouraged to consult these frequently asked questions when preparing their proposals and to engage with a financial institution as soon as possible concerning their completion bonds.

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