The government is rolling out its ‘hydrogen strategy’ as a way of introducing an element of ‘incentive and stability to the energy sector’.
Say reports, the plan will require up to €7 billion in investment up to 2030, 85% of which should come from the private sector.
The long-term goal is to reduce imports of natural gas by €300-600 million and create a European hub of ‘green energy’ close to Sines, one of the country’s major ports.
The strategy is key to Portugal’s ‘decarbonisation’ goals.
Explains minister for the environment and energetic transition João Pedro Matos Fernandes, ‘green hydrogen’ will be “very cheap to produce” and boost what he called ‘qualified employment’.
Sines has always been the ‘perfect choice’ as its coal- and oil-fired plants are being decommissioned, and the network of gas pipelines connecting to it are already in place.
Says Matos Fernandes, existing pipelines are 70% ready to distribute hydrogen from Sines, which, according to all the planning, should eventually be producing a gigawatt of energy with ‘green hydrogen’ (so called because it is produced from renewable energy).
At least one ‘collaborative effort’ is already underway – with a renewables company from Holland – and clearly hopes now are that more will follow.
Said Matos Fernandes last week, the development of an industry around green hydrogen in Portugal “has the potential to dynamise a new economic ecosystem, allied to the enormous potential of decarbonisation”.
On queue EDP, seven other European energy companies and associations allied to the production of wind and solar power, have written to vice-president of the European Commission Frans Timmermans to lobby for renewable hydrogen.
They too have stressed its “central role” in terms of decarbonisation.
Expresso outlines the many and various sectors energy giants stress will benefit – including the chemical industry, transports and aviation.
But there may be something of an elephant in the room within all the positive soundbites.
Explains RechargeNews – a website dealing with global ‘news and intelligence for the energy transition’ – actually producing “the vast quantities of green hydrogen that the world will need (on the basis that the fuel is indispensable for decarbonisation goals) “would require an absolutely massive amount of renewable energy” – on a scale to which most countries are not yet fully committed.