Portugal will have at least two “hydrogen valleys” – clusters for the production, distribution, export and use of green hydrogen in the national territory – in the coming years.
The information was released on Wednesday by João Galamba, Secretary of State for Energy, at the end of the high-level conference “Hydrogen in Society – Bridging the Gaps”, Organized under the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).
According to ECO, Portugal will develop at least two clusters for the production, distribution, export and use of green hydrogen in the national territory. One will be located in the Port of Sines and the other on north of the country.
According to João Galamba, “there are already many of these hydrogen valleys in Europe ”and Portugal don’t want to be out of the race to install this type of “integrated ecosystems that allow the systematic development of the various elements of the green hydrogen value chain”, from the production phase to distribution and use.
“Estes clusters, like what is scheduled to be born in Sines, favor the collective efficiency, lower production costs and allow the faster creation of green hydrogen value chains, which are some of the EU’s goals, ”he said.
Filipe Costa, CEO of AICEP Global Parques, a state-owned company that manages the Sines Industrial and Logistics Zone (ZILS), lifted the veil over the Government’s strategy. The creation of the “Sines Hydrogen Valley” is already underway and will include more than 1 GW of renewable electricity production from solar and wind power and more than 1 GW of production capacity of green hydrogen from electrolysers.
ZILS has available 2,375 contiguous hectares to the Port of Sines, occupied at only 70% and with space to install hydrogen projects.
“We are proactively hosting future installations of electrolysers and industrial projects for the manufacture or assembly of solar panels, electrolysers or other components for renewable energy generation equipment,” said Filipe Costa.
The official also spoke about the direct connection to the national natural gas network (interconnected with Spain) and the proximity to the deep water port of Sines, which may have new terminals dedicated to renewable gas and from where, in the future, ships loaded with liquefied hydrogen will leave for the Port of Rotterdam and other parts of Europe.
According to Filipe Costa, a Renewable Energy Community is being implemented in the Industrial and Logistics Zone of Sines and will be fed by the cluster of renewable energy that is being born in the vicinity.
Without a competitive price, “there will be no success in hydrogen”
Bondalti’s president, João de Mello, said this Wednesday that green hydrogen is not yet competitive in relation to what comes from fossil fuels and that without reducing electricity costs, “there will be no success in the hydrogen strategy ”.
“Green hydrogen is not yet competitive with gray. […] If the price of energy is not competitive, there will be no success in the green hydrogen strategy ”, said the CEO of the Estarreja company belonging to the José de Mello Group, which is developing a hydrogen production project, in an investment of 2.4 billion euros, selected by the Portuguese State to apply for EU funding.
The official reiterated that betting on green hydrogen is a challenge that Bondalti is committed to, however, he listed the main obstacles to the success of the hydrogen strategy, where the price of electricity is included.
“We are all competing, all countries are competing [e] a competitive price of electricity is a key factor ”, considered João de Mello.
The President of Bondalti referred to need for incentives the development of the technology needed to create a hydrogen market. “If we want to be neutral in coal by 2050, we must realize that a large investment will be necessary”, he pointed out.
João de Mello also stressed that the issue of coal products, from countries with environmental laws different from those of the EU, but which are, however, exported to the EU, has to be resolved.
Maria Campos, ZAP // Lusa