Poland plans to invest 797 million euros ($960 million) to develop the production and distribution of hydrogen, using the European Union’s economic rescue fund to speed up its shift to clean energy.
The government is finishing work on a plan to tap 58.1 billion euros in EU grants and loans to help recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The bloc’s 750 billion-euro stimulus program is centered around its Green Deal strategy, with more than a third of the funding required to be for climate-related projects.
Transforming the energy sector in Poland, which depends on coal for more than 70% of power production, is among the top challenges identified in the national recovery plan. The overhaul will be “extremely costly” but in the longer term green technologies may become the driving force of the economy, according to the government in Warsaw.
“The green transition will be a chance for the modernization of the economy and the growth of Polish companies,” it said in a draft plan, which is currently being consulted with the public.
Hydrogen is rising up the EU political agenda as an indispensable element of the bid for climate neutrality. The European Commission wants to increase sixfold the capacity of hydrogen produced from renewable sources by 2024.
Poland’s largest oil company PKN Orlen SA, which is already building a hydrogen hub in central Poland, plans to spend 25 billion zloty ($6.6 billion) by 2030 to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by more than 20%.