Italy to launch €1.1bn fund for green manufacturing — including hydrogen electrolyser factories




Grants of hundreds of millions of euros on offer, but H2 technologies in competition with other green industries


Italy is to launch a new €1.1bn ($1.2bn) subsidy programme to support green manufacturing in the country, that could see manufacturers of electrolysis equipment in line for grants of hundreds of millions of euros.


The European Commission (EC) on Friday gave the nod for the Italian government to use some of its Covid recovery funds to part-finance the programme, which envisages direct grants of up to €350m for producers of green technologies — including electrolysers used to make renewable hydrogen — to set up new manufacturing facilities.


But H2 industries will be in competition with a vast array of other environmental industries for a share of the funds, including producers of solar panels, wind turbines, heat pumps and equipment for use in carbon capture and storage.


Cash will also be available for manufacturers of “key components” which are designed for and primarily used in green technologies — such as membranes used in electrolysers — and for the production of critical raw materials necessary for their production.


Grants will be set at €150m, rising to €200m or €350m in areas categorised by the EU as relatively deprived and in need of strategic investment.


“This €1.1 billion Italian scheme will support the production of strategic equipment, namely batteries, solar panels, heat-pumps, wind turbines, electrolysers and carbon-capture usage and storage,” said Margrethe Vestager, the EC’s executive vice-president in charge of competition policy. “These are key for the transition towards a net-zero economy. At the same time, the scheme ensures that possible competition distortions remain limited.”


This is the third major subsidy scheme benefiting the hydrogen industry put forward by Rome and approved by the EC this year, following the €550m programme to help Italy’s industrial giants switch to using renewable H2 from fossil fuel-based hydrogen, announced in January.


And prime minister Giorgia Meloni’s government has also received approval to award €350m to a green hydrogen “hub” in the south of the country — although the announcement was marred by the financial collapse of a major green steel hub in the region that was positioned to offtake renewable H2.



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