Spanish utility giant Iberdrola will invest €3bn ($3.21bn) in green hydrogen to advance Europe’s ambition to slash emissions by 55% by 2030, according to CEO Ignacio Galán — without elaborating on how the money would be spent.

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The European Commission last week unveiled plans to produce ten million tonnes of green hydrogen inside the EU by 2030, while importing a further ten million by the same date. The production of green H2 would be backed by a Carbon Contracts for Difference subsidy scheme, with stringent rules on what qualifies as renewable hydrogen laid out in draft Delegated Acts — but these plans still need the support of the 27 EU member states.

Galán told the World Economic Forum in Davos this week that European policymakers will need to implement a stable regulatory framework to boost investment noting that the bloc’s CEOs are ready to work with policymakers to make Europe “a greener continent, turning severe energy needs and global food security risks into economic opportunities”.

“We cannot miss this train,” he added.

This month, Iberdrola broke ground on its first green hydrogen plant, a €150m project in Puertollano, south-central Spain, which is scheduled to come on line this year. Its 20MW electrolyser will be powered by a 100MW PV plant, with expected green hydrogen production of 3,000 tonnes per year supplied to a local ammonia plant owned by Spanish fertiliser company Fertiberia.

Green hydrogen supplied to the Fertiberia plant will displace about 10% of the unabated natural gas that is used today to make around 200,000 tonnes of ammonia per year.

The Puertollano project is just the first phase of Iberdrola and Fertiberia’s plans to vastly expand their green hydrogen production capacity for use in ammonia plants.

The pair hope to tap the European Recovery Fund among other public finance initiatives to develop two hydrogen complexes with a total capacity of 800MW, the first in Puertollano and the second in Palos de la Frontera in Andalusia.

The Spanish government is targeting 4GW of green hydrogen production by 2030.

EDP also leaping into green H2

Another of Europe’s largest utilities, Portugal’s EDP, also took a major leap into green hydrogen this week, when its subsidiary EDP Renewables signed a deal with French pure-play renewable H2 producer Lhyfe to co-develop green hydrogen projects.

The agreement could see EDP taking equity of up to 50% of green hydrogen projects built, developed and managed by the pair, with EDP supplying the renewable electricity to Lhyfe’s projects.

EDP aims to produce 1.5GW of green hydrogen by 2030, while Lhyfe has a “portfolio of more than 4.8GW of total installed capacity in 93 projects under development in Europe and plans to install 200MW by 2026 and 3GW by 2030”, according to an EDP statement. “Among these 93 projects, 20 are at an advanced stage of development, with a total capacity of 380.5MW expected to come onstream between 2023 and 2026."

"We believe that renewable hydrogen can complement the direct electrification as the best means for reducing CO2 emissions and achieving the decarbonisation of the economy, including in the hard-to-electrify sectors,” said Miguel Stilwell d'Andrade, CEO of EDP Renewables.

“With this agreement with Lhyfe, we reinforce our commitment to the acceleration of the energy transition while also taking one step toward the achievement of our growth plans.”