Naturgy and Enagás Renovable to receive funding from the European Commission’s Innovation Fund for the La Robla green hydrogen plant

  • The renewable hydrogen project in La Robla (León, Spain) has been selected to receive 42 million euros of funding in the 3rd call for large-scale projects of the European Union’s Innovation Fund.
  • The renewable hydrogen production plant is one of 13 projects selected by the European Commission in the industry electrification and hydrogen category.
  • Naturgy and Enagás Renovable presented the project in collaboration with Fertiberia, which could potentially be the main consumer of the hydrogen produced in La Robla.
  • The renewable hydrogen production plant will prevent over 430,000 tonnes of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere per year.

The European Commission has selected the renewable hydrogen production plant promoted by Naturgy and Enagás Renovable in La Robla (León, Spain) to receive 42 million euros from its Innovation Fund, a programme to support innovative technologies, processes and products that contribute to the European Union’s decarbonisation commitments. This financial backing boosts the development of the project and validates its maturity by giving it a significant competitive advantage.

The European Commission has now formally invited the project promoters to prepare the grant agreement, a step that marks the beginning of a collaboration that will not only benefit La Robla, but also help drive forward innovation and technology in both Spain and Europe. The project is one of 13 to be selected by the Commission in the industry electrification and hydrogen category. After receiving a total of 239 applications, the Commission has awarded funding to 41 innovative low-carbon projects across the various categories.

The Innovation Fund is one of the largest funding programmes aimed at developing innovative technologies to reduce CO2 emissions in the European Union. The selected projects are located in 14 other EU member states in addition to Spain — Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden — as well as in Norway. All of them will be operational by 2030 and have the potential to prevent 221 million tonnes of CO2 emissions within the first 10 years of operation.

The La Robla hydrogen production plant will be able to produce up to 280 MW and will be located on the site of Naturgy’s former thermal power plant, which received authorisation for definitive closure in 2020 and will be fully decommissioned in 2024.

In addition, the development of the plant will also involve the start-up of a photovoltaic solar generation project comprising various farms located in municipalities near La Robla.

This project will prevent more than 430,000 tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere per year, contributing to the decarbonisation of industrial processes and the development of sustainable mobility. Specifically, renewable hydrogen will play a key role in decarbonising the industrial processes of Fertiberia, which could potentially be the main consumer of the hydrogen produced at La Robla. Fertiberia played an active role in submitting the proposal to this Innovation Fund call, which demonstrates its commitment to innovation and decarbonisation.

The project in La Robla will be developed in coordination and in sync with the decarbonisation plans of the hydrogen consumers to be supplied by the project. It will also be aligned with the construction of the hydrogen transportation infrastructure in the Spanish national context. This strategic synergy will ensure that the project is implemented efficiently and effectively, thereby optimising the integration of hydrogen technology into the country’s energy matrix.

Antón Martínez, CEO of Enagás Renovable, stated that “this project reinforces our commitment to the energy transition and will support the decarbonisation of the region’s industries. This funding has a key role in making this vision a reality and accelerating the shift to a more sustainable energy supply”.

Silvia Sanjoaquín, Director of New Business at Naturgy, highlighted that “obtaining this funding is a major milestone for the La Robla hydrogen project and reinforces our commitment to decarbonisation by developing renewable gases, and also to the economic revival of Just Transition areas”.

One year on from the presentation of the La Robla project.

The announcement that the project will receive this funding from the European Commission comes almost a year after the project in La Robla was presented by the CEO of Enagás Renovable, Antón Martínez, and the Director of New Businesses at Naturgy, Silvia Sanjoaquín.

The presentation ceremony was attended by the Secretary of State for Energy from the Spanish Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Sara Aagesen; the Government Delegate of Castilla y León, Virginia Barcones Sanz; the Mayor of La Robla, Santiago Dorado Cañón; the Director of the Just Transition Institute, Laura Martín Murillo; the President of León Provincial Council, Eduardo Morán Pacios; the Regional Minister of Energy and Mines of the Government of Castilla y León, Alfonso Arroyo González; and the Government sub-delegate in León, Faustino Sánchez Samartino.

During the event, the Secretary of State for Energy, Sara Aagesen, remarked that “the development of renewable hydrogen is a key tool in the just transition and this, in turn, constitutes a vector for reindustrialisation in this area”.

Renewable hydrogen, our new ally in decarbonisation

Renewable hydrogen is mainly obtained by electrolysis, which uses renewable electricity to separate the hydrogen and oxygen found in water. Most importantly, this process is powered entirely by renewable energy so it does not generate any polluting air emissions and is the cleanest and most sustainable kind of hydrogen.

Renewable hydrogen is a key sustainable solution to decarbonise the economy and will help the EU become climate neutral by 2050, as set out in the European Green Deal.

Renewable hydrogen is set to be a valuable energy carrier for end-uses where it is the most efficient decarbonisation solution, such as in hydrogen-intensive industry and high-temperature processes, long-distance heavy-duty transport, sea and rail transport or aviation. It also has great potential as an instrument for energy storage and sectoral integration.


About Enagás Renovable

Enagás Renovable has a portfolio of more than 30 projects specifically related to renewable gases and decarbonisation in Spain, representing one of the largest European platforms in this field. The company’s shareholding structure is made up of Enagás with 60%, Hy24 (a joint venture between Ardian and FiveT Hydrogen) with 30%, Pontegadea with 5% and Navantia (SEPI) with the remaining 5%.

Enagás Renovable already has several pioneering projects in the field of renewable gases that are in line with the Hydrogen and Biogas Roadmaps for Spain and the European Union’s decarbonisation objectives. They include the development of Spain’s first industrial green hydrogen plant in Lloseta (Majorca) and the start-up of the “UNUE” biomethane production plant in Burgos, which is the first large-scale biomethane project to be carried out in Spain as part of a private initiative.