The Federation of European Tank Storage Associations (FETSA) has welcomed the European Commission’s proposal for a major recovery plan. It includes a €750bn recovery instrument, aimed to help Europe get back onto its feet following the COVID-19 pandemic.

FETSA Executive Director Ravi Bhatiani said that the association has recommendations and information available for policymakers in its Climate Neutrality Vision, as one of the major points in the plan is aimed at kickstarting a clean hydrogen economy as part of funding for the European Green Deal. 

The proposed recovery instrument, (which the Commission has called Next Generation EU), “has been designed to protect lives and livelihoods, repair the Single Market and build the economic recovery” the Commission said. 

As well as this €750bn fund, the Commission has also reinforced the EU budget for 2021-2027 to target the recovery, bringing the total EU budget to €1.85trn. But the plan has yet to be approved by the European Parliament and Member States.

Bhatiani said: “The EU economic recovery plan is unprecedented in scope, and puts additional focus on accelerating the energy transition. The lead times for tank terminals to prepare for certain new technologies, such as clean hydrogen, are relatively lengthy with high safety and construction costs so we will play an important role in policy development in this area.”

The Commission said funds from Next Generation EU will be distributed according to three main pillars:

  • Support to Member States with investments and reforms
  • Kick-starting the EU economy by incentivising private investments
  • Addressing the lessons of the crisis. 

It includes financial support for investments and reforms, a solvency support instrument, and a strategic investment facility aimed at generating investments of up to €150bn in strategic sectors, particularly those related to the green and digital transitions.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The recovery plan turns the immense challenge we face into an opportunity, not only by supporting the recovery but also by investing in our future: the European Green Deal and digitalization will boost jobs and growth, the resilience of our societies and the health of our environment.”

As part of the COVID-19 recovery plan, the Commission published a hydrogen roadmap for the EU Hydrogen Strategy looking at how the use of hydrogen could become more mainstream in Europe. The roadmap suggests various actions to promote the production and use of clean hydrogen, such as increased R&D spend and how to fund hydrogen infrastructure. It also covers energy security and the use of non-renewable hydrogen, known as blue hydrogen. The Commission is expected to formally announce the EU Hydrogen Strategy in June, following publication of the roadmap, which will include how clean hydrogen could play a role in the pandemic recovery period.

Bhatiani said that FETSA will send its hydrogen recommendations to the relevant officials, ensuring that the voice of the tank storage industry is heard. FETSA will also participate in the EU Hydrogen Alliance, which will play a role in future policy decisions.

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8th June 2020