France Hydrogène (AFHYPAC), the French association for hydrogen and fuel cells, and the European Investment Bank (EIB) – the EU climate bank – have signed a collaboration agreement aimed at facilitating access to the EIB's financing solutions and expertise for hydrogen project promoters in France.
More specifically, this agreement comes under the EIB's InnovFin Advisory program, which is supported by the European Commission. The resources made available by this program are expected to help speed up the financing of hydrogen projects through the establishment of personalized advice and support in parallel with a thorough exploration of the funding possibilities.
The EIB and France Hydrogène share common objectives, in particular their strong commitment to climate issues. The EIB is the EU climate bank, and the financing of new technologies, such as innovative projects to combat climate change, is at the heart of its activity. Hydrogen technologies play a major role in accelerating the energy transition, but require scale-up and substantial investment. For this reason, it is necessary to support project promoters throughout the study and feasibility phase of their project as well as the funding research phase. The EIB will therefore work closely with France Hydrogène and its members on sharing knowledge and best practices to facilitate access to the most suitable financing for proposed hydrogen projects and thus identify those that could be eligible for EIB financing. This close cooperation will also make it possible to identify funding deficits in this emerging sector so that they can be addressed by the introduction of new financial instruments, among others.
"This agreement with France Hydrogène marks a milestone in the development of hydrogen projects in France. Tackling the climate emergency represents a huge challenge and innovative solutions need to be developed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. "Thanks to our expertise as the EU climate bank, we hope that many project promoters will receive personalized advisory support and benefit from facilitated financing."
He concluded, "I also welcome the European Commission's extensive support for thisagreement. The development of the hydrogen market in France is expected to have a positive impact on climate and industrial development in France and the European Union. It is by pooling our strengths and skills that we will overcome the climate challenge."
"To meet the targets of the 2030 Energy and Climate Act, public and private investment needs have been estimated at nearly €24 billion over the coming decade. Like the European Commission and other governments, the French government has announced a national strategy for the development of carbon-free hydrogen with financial support of €7.2 billion over 10 years. The partnership agreement signed today with the EIB gives a further positive signal for the deployment and scale-up of hydrogen technologies in France and Europe.
The goal is for the players in our sector to hold all the cards and to receive support in deploying projects, supporting new innovations and finding industrial solutions in order to reduce costs and fast become more competitive in Europe and on the international market. France Hydrogène and the EIB intend to collaborate effectively to this end,"said Philippe Boucly, Chairman of France Hydrogène.
This agreement is fully in line with the "National Strategy for the Development of Carbon-Free Hydrogen in France" announced on September 8, 2020: it prepares the ground for a new era for hydrogen as a future strategic industry in France and the European Union.
The agreement was signed at a virtual event organized by France Hydrogène and the EIB, during which the Bank's advisory and financing solutions were presented to the association's members.