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Italy's hydrogen ambitions

  • Italy
  • Energy and infrastructure - Hydrogen

30-03-2021

Italy is aiming to invest approximately €10 billion in the hydrogen sector by 2030, with around half of that amount stemming from European funds and private investments as set out in the National Hydrogen Strategy Preliminary Guidelines. In recent years, the interest in hydrogen in Italy has grown rapidly due to the role that hydrogen will play in the energy transition. As highlighted in the National Hydrogen National Strategy Preliminary Guidelines issued by the Industry Ministry in November as well as in the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan for 2030, Italy aims to achieve 40% carbon reduction by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050, supported by the production and use of hydrogen. In line with the above targets, Italy is also considering the creation of “hydrogen valleys” where hydrogen applications may be combined together to create an integrated hydrogen ecosystem.

According to the Hydrogen National Strategy Preliminary Guidelines, three hydrogen production models may be implemented to achieve its targets, these being:

  • On-site production - where the generation of electricity and the electrolysis capacity are close to the consumption point to minimize transportation costs;
  • On-site production with electricity transport - where the electricity is produced and then transported through the grid to the consumption point where it is transformed into hydrogen;
  • Centralized production with hydrogen transportation - where the generation of electricity and electrolysis take place in the same area and the hydrogen produced is transported to the consumption point through specific infrastructure.

The achievement of the objectives outlined above may potentially be impacted due to the lack of national regulation relating to the construction of hydrogen plants. As it stands, the only relevant provision (legislative decree 257/2016) refers to the transportation of hydrogen and its distribution. In order not to impact the construction and distribution of hydrogen, a possible solution could be to extend the existing provisions relating to the construction of hydrogen plants and electrolysis installation which are applicable to the construction of renewable plants as highlighted in legislative decrees 387/2003 and 28/2011.

At a regional level, the Puglia region has already enacted a regional law (34/2019) encouraging the production and use of hydrogen through electricity generated from renewable sources.

Italy wants to set up a market for hydrogen, and in order to meet these ambitious targets, financial support will be provided by way of the Next Generation EU, Innovation Fund and National Operational Plan. Italy is also joining “Important Project of Common European Interest” (IPCEI) which allows nations to use money in order to support industrial development on green hydrogen projects. National funds are also located in Sustainable Growth Fund (Fondo Crescita Sostenibile), Mission Innovation and Law Decree Agosto DL Agosto, with the primary target to boost the economy.

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