The European Commission’s RePowerEU plan, presented in June 2022, aims to reduce dependency on Russian fossil fuels. A key proposal within this plan is the creation of three hydrogen corridors, one of which is the North Sea Corridor. The Commission calls on the EU to produce and import 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen by 2030. Four Dutch regions along the North Sea are stepping up to this ambitious proposal with a position paper.
- Four Dutch coastal regions collaborate on a North Sea Hydrogen Corridor.
- The corridor aims to be part of the energy transition.
- The Dutch Regions ask the European Commission to become part of the RePowerEU plan.
“As regional and local institutions along the North Sea, we recognize the pivotal role we play in shaping the governance and advancements surrounding this corridor,” the paper states. The Dutch regions – Zeeland, Zuid-Holland, Noord-Holland, and Noord-Nederland – believe their vision should be integrated into the legislative process and extend a helping hand to the European Commission, asking them to collaborate in developing the North Sea Hydrogen Corridor.
The Dutch regions are dedicated to collaborating with stakeholders to define the future North Sea Hydrogen corridor further. By working together, they expect to unlock opportunities for sustainable growth and pave the way toward a greener future. The Dutch regions have already made steps toward realizing a hydrogen economy. Now, they say, large-scale production of green energy at sea will be needed for greening their industries. This can only be accomplished in close collaboration with their neighbors and the European Commission.
The Dutch regions have an advantage due to their location close to deep sea water and large seaports and industrial clusters. There is significant potential for both offshore wind power production and offshore hydrogen production paired with existing gas-infrastructure that can be repurposed for hydrogen. This connects large industry clusters in the hinterland to the production sites at sea. The ports of Eemshaven, Delfzijl, Den Helder, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and the North Sea Port can start the energy import and transport corridor.
“Hydrogen offers our regions clean air and both economic growth and jobs,” the paper states. The four regions now ask the European Commission and the European Parliament to closely consider the role that the regions can play in the Repower EU process. They want to be included in talks about the type of import (ammonia, LOHC etc.), which infrastructure will be needed and where, and to what extent the EU is planning to co-finance such projects.
On top of their combined effort, each of the regions brings a unique value to the North Sea Hydrogen Corridor. The position paper sums up the most important ones:
The Northern Netherlands, including Groningen, Drenthe, and Friesland, is transitioning from traditional energy sources to a sustainable and versatile energy region. It has large potential in storage facilities in salt caverns and production capacity for hydrogen. The region is also home to significant knowledge institutions such as the University of Groningen and the Energiecampus Leeuwarden.
Noord-Holland’s hydrogen ambitions are concentrated in the North Sea Canal Area (NZKG) and Noord-Holland Noord (NHN), focusing on the production, import, transport, and usage of hydrogen. The Port of Amsterdam, one of the world’s largest gasoline ports, has set out an ambitious transition path to transform its fossil cargo flows and to grow in the production, import, storage, and transport of hydrogen.
Zuid-Holland, home to the Port of Rotterdam & Moerdijk, is working on the transition of the port industry and on zero-emission transport along EU corridors. The region is also home to significant knowledge institutions such as Delft University and Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Zeeland, with its North Sea Port, plays a role in the production of hydrogen and has a strong location as a region at the border with Belgium. The region is also home to knowledge institutions such as the HZ University of Applied Sciences and – just across the border – UGent.