The government of the Netherlands plans to host an auction to import green hydrogen or its derivatives at the end of this year or early 2024, backed by €300m ($329m) of subsidies.
The tender would be held through Germany's existing H2Global auction platform, which acts as a middleman between producers and buyers.
Launch will depend on officials getting the green light from Parliament in the Hague, and state aid approval from the European Commission, the Dutch ministry of economic affairs and climate policy told Hydrogen Insight.
No decision has been made on whether the tender will be for green hydrogen or derivatives such as green ammonia and e-methanol, but the ministry is now putting together a definition of its key criteria.
“In [the] upcoming period we will work on the design of the tender: decision on hydrogen carrier, volumes, import regions and prequalification criteria still need to be made,” a spokesperson for the Netherlands’ ministry of economic affairs and climate policy told Hydrogen Insight.
"[The] aim would be to open tender at the end of this year/beginning of next year," she added.
The German government, which owns the platform and led its development, has so far launched three auctions worth a total of €900m, another for e-methanol made with green hydrogen, and another for e-SAFs.
German chancellor Olaf Scholz has pledged a total of €4bn for H2Global, but has not yet secured EU state aid approval for the expansion of the scheme beyond €900m.
Under the unique double-auction scheme, a special purpose company owned by the German government Hydrogen Intermediary Network Company (HintCo), will buy green hydrogen or its derivatives from international producers via ten year Hydrogen Purchase Agreements (HPAs), before selling it on to European customers, who will bid for short-term supply contracts via a separate tenders.
But Berlin designed the scheme for EU-wide applications: deliveries can be made to ports in Germany, Belgium or the Netherlands to unspecified “EU-based” customers.
The Dutch government first announced that it would make a “financial contribution” to H2Global in October last year.
If launched successfully, the tender would make the country the first non-German state to use the H2Global platform for hydrogen imports, and comes as the Netherlands is positioning itself as a major green hydrogen import hub.
The Port of Rotterdam, which is close to an existing network of hydrogen pipelines as well as other H2 infrastructure, hosts an existing ammonia import facility owned by fertiliser producer OCI, which recently took final investment decision on a massive expansion of the terminal.
Rotterdam has also signed agreements with a consortium that includes Shell and Engie to store and transport liquid hydrogen produced in Portugal at the port, and last year made a pact with Dutch gas pipeline operator Gasunie, bulk handler HES and tank storage company Vopak for the companies to build an ammonia import terminal on Rotterdam’s Maasvlakte peninsula.
In fact, a recent study from the EU’s public-private clean hydrogen partnership, found that almost half of Europe’s hydrogen demand in 2050 will be located in or around port areas.
UPDATE: auctions will take place at the end of this year/early 2024, not by the end of this year as previously reported