Flemish government and EIB partner on hydrogen development

hydrogen power plant
Image credit: 123rf.com

An agreement reached by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Flemish government is expected to help scale up the implementation of hydrogen projects in the Belgium region of Flanders.

The agreement encompasses the EIB and the Flemish government creating a framework which the two parties can use to enhance the financing and implementation of hydrogen projects.

The aim is to help the region to accelerate its decarbonisation of the economy and industries.

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Flemish Minister of Innovation Hilde Crevits, said: “Flanders has enormous ambitions in the field of sustainable hydrogen, from the production of green hydrogen to the implementation of that hydrogen for sustainable steel or fuels, as far as development of cheaper hydrogen production plants.”

Today, the rollout of hydrogen in the EU energy mix is still low yet vital to decarbonise hard-to-abate industries such as steel production and processing and energy generation.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Flemish government represented by Vice Prime-Minister and Minister for the Economy Hilde Crevits. 

The share of hydrogen is less than 2% of the EU energy mix today, and between €180 billion ($209.7 billion) and €470 billion ($547.7 billion) is required to boost renewable energy and hydrogen production capacities in the bloc by 2050, according to the European Hydrogen Strategy.

With demand for hydrogen growing and investments increasing, the share of the resource in the bloc’s energy mix has the potential to reach 17% by 2050, according to a statement.

Trends within the hydrogen and renewables markets are pushing the Flemish government to increase its focus on hydrogen.

The signing of the deal with the EIB follows the Flemish government submitting its first ‘projects of common interest’ (PCI) in the field of hydrogen with the European Commission. Commenting on the development, Hilde, added: “The PCI projects we presented to the Commission are a perfect fit with the Flemish vision for hydrogen….it will become easier to attract European financing to make Flemish hydrogen projects a reality.”

The EIB says it will use the deal with Flanders to accelerate its support on the role hydrogen can play in mitigating climate change in the region and ensuring energy security. With the lack of funding, in addition to a lack of hydrogen production, storage, and transportation infrastructure, hindering the growth of the market, the EIB has to date provided €550 million ($640 million) in loans to hydrogen-related projects and over €2 billion ($2.3 billion) in advisory and financial support to projects that use hydrogen technologies.

EIB Vice-President Kris Peeters, added: “We also currently have a pipeline of further projects in the sector of €1 billion.”

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