The Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) aims to mitigate the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 crisis and make European economies and societies more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions. The RRF will provide up to €337.97 billion in grants and €385.85 billion in loans.
EU countries are responsible for developing national recovery and resilience plans, containing investments and reforms to address the key challenges identified in the European Semester framework, and to support the green and digital transition. Those plans shall include a minimum of 37% of allocated funds related to the green transition, with the condition that no measure in the plans may ‘do significant harm’. Maximum grants allocated by EU countries can be found in Annex IV of the RRF Regulation.
This means that the RRF provides an unprecedented opportunity for cooperation among EU countries to coordinate investment efforts on common challenges including the green transition of industry, and national recovery and resilient plans need to reflect this.
What type of hydrogen related actions can be funded
It is relevant for all industrial ecosystems and technologies addressing the sustainability challenge, including renewable and low carbon hydrogen. Projects related to demonstration and first deployment of new technologies; flagship projects in the context of the National Hydrogen Strategy; the preparation and adoption of a national roadmap for developing the potential of hydrogen technologies.
Basically, those actions could cover the whole value chain of renewable and low carbon hydrogen. It includes pilot projects for the production of renewable hydrogen; transmission and distribution; and application in end-use sectors such as transport or industry.
The Commission encouraged EU countries to put forward investments in the following flagship areas which are particularly relevant for hydrogen development
- European Flagship PowerUp, targeting clean technologies and renewables and with stated ambition to support the building and sector integration of 6 GW of electrolyser capacity and production and transportation of 1 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen across the EU by 2025.
- European Flagship Recharge and Refuel, targeting sustainable transport and charging stations (examples: waterborne, buses, public transport). This areas could include projects promoting hydrogen refuelling stations that will make European cities and regions cleaner and accelerate the industrial transition.
The RRF is implemented by the Commission through direct management. Funding is disbursed in the form of non-repayable financial supports and loans. Once the national recovery and resilience plans are approved (done by the Council separately for each plan - expected in Q3 2021 for those EU countries who submitted their plans), the Commission can pay 13% of total support upfront to kick start the recovery, for EU countries that so request. Further disbursements are made at most twice a year, as EU countries demonstrate that they have reached milestones and targets specified in the Council implementing decision approving their plan.
Conditions for application
Each EU country defines the specific components and conditions, in alignment with the requirements of the regulation. Beneficiaries of the facility are EU countries and indirectly, EU citizens, public or private organisations and businesses.
How to apply and when
EU countries submitted their national reform programmes and their recovery and resilience plans in a single integrated document, which provides an overview of the reforms and investments that the EU country plans to undertake in the coming years in line with the objectives of the facility. By the end of May 2021, the Commission had formally received more than half of the officially submitted plans. Until now, 22 plans have been endorsed by the Council.
The Commission assessed each plan against the criteria specified in the regulation, including consistency with country-specific recommendations as well as strengthening growth potential; job creation and economic and social resilience of the EU countries; contribution to the green and digital transition. Based on this assessment, the Commission proposes a Council implementing decision to the Council.
Not available, pending adoption of the National Recovery and Resilience Plans
The RRF is a performance-based instrument. Pending the achievement of milestones and targets included in the instalment period, the Commission will make a payment to the EU country. Part of the payment will feed the hydrogen projects which are sequenced in different phases, e.g. award of contract/start of the project, intermediary objectives, completion of the project.
Example(s) of supported projects
None yet, since assessment of national recovery and resilience plans is ongoing. As of March 2022, 22 plans have been endorsed by the Council.
R&D/demonstration projects (e.g. creation of complete hydrogen circuits from production of green hydrogen)
Production: essentially construction of electrolysers using renewable energy of from the grid
Transport: networks to connect local integrated clusters, storage facilities and distribution infrastructure
Applications in end-use sectors
Industry: mostly early TRL projects, R&D in hard to abate sectors, decarbonisation process
Transport: variety of modes – fuel cells vehicles, hydrogen buses and trains, equipment for refuelling/charging points
Database of examples
Not available. Please refer to the clean power fiche published in the context of the Recovery and Resilience scoreboard.