Since 2016, the FCH JU undertook significant efforts to reach out to all those European regions and cities having an interest in the potential use of fuel cell and hydrogen (FCH) based products to help them achieve their decarbonisation goals. With the specific goal of establishing an ambitious collaboration platform to facilitate market introduction, the FCH JU took on a large scale effort to reach out to as many regions and cities in Europe as possible and offered to work closely with them to develop market opportunities.
This commitment to work with regions and cities led to the launch of a study in 2017 to:
• assess the business cases for fuel cell and hydrogen applications that local authorities seek
• put them directly in touch with industry players
• help them map their local capabilities so that they can exploit FCH in the future
• identify existing funding sources to implement future projects
The participating regions and cities completed a survey to provide insights into their ambitions and challenges for FCH deployment. The strongest drivers for pursuing these applications are industrial innovation, development and additional employment opportunities in the region, with 32% of the regions having already a dedicated FCH strategy in place, as part of their political agenda. In this regard, Nordic and Central Europe regions exhibit the highest levels of experience. The results of the survey can be found here.
In October 2018 the final report of the Study on Development of Business Cases for Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Applications for European Regions and Cities was published.
As part of these activities several highly attended workshops that gathered all the 92 Regions that actually signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the FCH JU under the Regions and Cities Initiative.
Building on the work carried out in 2018 under the Regions Initiative and the conclusions of the report ‘Fuel Cells and Hydrogen for Green Energy in European Cities and Regions’, a number of major developments took place, in particular:
- The launch in May of the European Hydrogen Valleys Partnership (EHV-S3P) under the Smart Specialisation Platform, which aims to enhance the role of green hydrogen in the European energy transition process
- The signature in October 2019 of a contract for managing a pilot Project Development Assistance (PDA) to support regions across Europe to move hydrogen projects from their current stage to implementation (pilot PDA finished in June 2021)
- The inclusion in the AWP2019 (topic FCH-03-1-2019) of an H2 Valley topic aiming to showcase a large demonstration (flagship) project with hydrogen as the energy carrier for various types of use (transport, power, heat and industry). This led to the award of a grant for HEAVENN, the successful ‘H2 Valley’ signed in December 2019, with an FCH contribution of EUR 20 million and total cost of EUR 82 million
- The inclusion in the AWP2020 (topic FCH-03-2-2020) of an 'H2 in Islands' topic aiming to showcase the ability of hydrogen and its associated technologies to decarbonize islands in EU at an unprecedented scale. This led to the award of a grant for, the successful ‘H2 Island that started in January 2021 in December, with an FCH contribution of EUR 10 million and total cost of EUR 82 million.
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