Portugal aims to build a solar-powered green hydrogen production plant that would be among the world’s largest planned so far at 1GW, according to reports.

The €5bn ($5.4bn) plant near the port of Sines could be producing hydrogen as early as 2023, with the aim of reaching full capacity by 2030, said Reuters, quoting the country’s environment minister Joao Matos Fernandes.

Fernandes told the financial newswire that the plant is a key plank of Portugal’s response to the economic collapse caused by Covid-19. "The economy cannot grow along the lines of the past and our post-coronavirus vision is to create wealth from projects that reduce carbon emissions and promote energy transition and sustainable mobility," he’s quoted saying.

National utility giant EDP and Portuguese oil & gas group Galp are both considering participating in the project, said Fernandes. Galp earlier this year trumpeted its ambitions to be “Iberia’s biggest solar player” after spending $2.4bn on Spanish PV assets, and wants to build a 10GW renewables portfolio by 2030.

Portugal last year awarded 1.2GW of solar contracts after a tender that attracted a then record-low bid of €14.80 ($16.46) per MWh. Fernandes told Reuters the country will launch a 700MW second tender in June.

Linking large-scale renewables with hydrogen production is one of the biggest themes of the energy transition to emerge over the last 18 months, with offshore wind and solar both centre-stage.

The largest solar-powered green hydrogen project up and running to date is a 20MW PV plant near Fukushima in Japan.

Galp and EDP’s renewable energy unit EDPR have been contacted by Recharge to comment on the report.