In December 2020, 22 EU countries and Norway signed a manifesto paving the way for a clean hydrogen value chain and committing to launch ‘important projects of common European interest’ (IPCEIs) in the hydrogen sector.
The signatories committed to jointly design and coordinate IPCEIs. They also agreed that projects should cover the full clean hydrogen value chain — from renewable and low-carbon hydrogen production to hydrogen storage, transmission and distribution, and hydrogen application, notably in industrial sectors.
Following an assessment by the European Commission, the first set of clean hydrogen projects received approval in July 2022. These 41 projects located in 15 EU countries will receive up to €5.4 billion in public funding. This is expected to unlock an additional €8.8 billion in private investments.
The second group of clean hydrogen projects received approval from the European Commission in September 2022. These 35 projects in 13 EU countries will receive up to €5.2 billion in public funding, which is expected to attract an additional €7 billion in private investments.
Read the Manifesto for a European 'Hydrogen Technologies and Systems' value chain (on the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy website).
What are IPCEIs?
Where private initiatives supporting breakthrough innovation and infrastructure fail to materialise because of the significant risks such projects entail, EU State aid rules enable EU countries to jointly fill the gap to overcome these market failures with an IPCEI.
IPCEIs are ambitious, cross-border, integrated projects, important due to their contribution to EU objectives while limiting potential competition distortions and ensuring positive spill-over effects for the internal market and the Union.
Besides IPCEIs, EU countries can lend support to hydrogen projects in compliance with the guidelines for state aid on climate, environmental protection and energy or the General Block Exemption Regulation.
The Commission Communication on IPCEIs sets out the relevant eligibility and compatibility criteria.