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When VoltH2 begins building its first two green hydrogen plants in Vlissingen and Terneuzen, it will mark an important step in the hydrogen economy. But the company, like other hydrogen producers in the Netherlands, faces several challenges, including high tariffs for power transmission. “Something can, and should, be done about those tariffs,” said Hans Brinkhof, regulatory affairs manager at VoltH2. Over a cup of coffee, he told IO how the company is doing.

Why this is important:

Hydrogen plays a crucial role in the transition to a green economy. This gas acts as an energy carrier and its combustion does not release CO₂, instead, it releases water.

With gas losing popularity, hydrogen is becoming an important pillar in the energy transition. Dutch industry currently consumes about 180 PJ of hydrogen annually. This is expected to increase fivefold in the coming years. It is therefore high time for the Netherlands to boost its hydrogen production capacity. The government is allocating hundreds of millions for this purpose. VoltH2, among others, is going to produce hydrogen in our country.

It is safe to say that the hydrogen producer is doing well. The company is working hard toward the realization of several hydrogen plants. In early 2026, the first two plants should be operational and supply green hydrogen. More projects will soon follow. In the coming years, the Dutch company will build a total of six plants in the Netherlands and Germany, which will collectively produce more than 500 megawatts of green hydrogen.

Prices for transmission are an obstacle

Before that, there are plenty of challenges to overcome, Brinkhof says. He is currently busy trying to figure out the costs. Prices for the transmission of electricity are proving to be an obstacle. “Therefore, we are now investigating whether we can develop more favorable conditions for the transport of electrons.”

Fair enough, he believes, because VoltH2’s electrolyzers help keep the power grid stable. Wind turbines have to be shut down during a storm because of grid congestion. The amount of energy generated is then so large that the power grid cannot handle it. Hydrogen generators are part of the solution. “At peak times, we can make hydrogen molecules from electricity and thus store energy. That’s the big advantage of hydrogen.”

Those high costs come on top of other uncertainties facing Dutch hydrogen producers. For example, they receive less tax relief compared to other countries and pay more for a grid connection. And their investment decision depends on the number of customers in the Netherlands, which takes longer to decide because of the high cost of hydrogen in the Netherlands.

All these factors prevented Dutch companies from securing a subsidy in the first European subsidy round for sustainable hydrogen production. The cheapest Dutch bid was twice that of winning projects abroad. So although the Dutch government wanted to fully commit to hydrogen, we are far from there yet.

Step closer to realizing hydrogen plants

Yet there are also positive developments going on in the Netherlands, including several rounds of subsidies. At the beginning of this year, VoltH2 received €20 million from the province of Zeeland through the Just Transition Fund, specifically for the conversion of the electricity grid for the benefit of the first two hydrogen plants Vlissingen and Terneuzen. Last year, the Dutch government awarded €250 million in grants to Dutch hydrogen projects, including VoltH2. This grant, known as OWE, was allocated to the project in Delfzijl. The other six projects involve the projects, Van Kessel Olie (Oude Tonge), RWE Eemshydrogen (Eemshaven), Groengas asset (Groningen), Groengas asset (Amsterdam), Hysolar (Nieuwegein) and H2 Hollandia (Nieuw-Buinen).

In addition, VoltH2, along with six other hydrogen projects, has received an award from the Scale-up Scheme Hydrogen Production via Electrolysis, the SDE++ grant. This will go to the two VoltH2 projects in Vlissingen and Terneuzen. “I consider it a nice token of appreciation,” Brinkhof said. “It shows that the development of the hydrogen economy is taken seriously in our country.”

The hydrogen roundabout

Brinkhof explains that, in addition to building the plants, the infrastructure in the Netherlands must also be put in order. Old gas pipelines, known as the hydrogen traffic circle, are used for this purpose. This is managed by Gasunie. VoltH2 has joined this initiative. However, it will take quite some time before the traffic circle is operational. Brinkhof explains: “Connections, taps, gaskets and seals all need to be replaced to make the network suitable for hydrogen.”Moreover, it will still take time to fill the entire traffic circle with enough hydrogen.

In any case, Brinkhof is looking forward to when the first poles of his company’s first plants go into the ground. “And we have numerous projects in the pipeline. Now we just have to wait for the final investment decision.