The Government of Ximo Puig wants to position the Valencian Community as the national oasis of green hydrogen. To achieve this, the regional government has granted favorable treatment to the landing of renewable gas projects, a kind of administrative red carpet that alleviates the environmental control to which these projects must be subjected.

With discretion, the Generalitat has adjusted the regulations to speed up the adaptation of land uses to green hydrogen projects, a business that in Spain aspires to mobilize up to 30,000 million euros, between public and private funds, by 2030. With this, the Valencian Executive seeks to repeat the "Volkswagen effect" with which it managed to attract the battery factory of the automotive group to Sagunto, unseating other regions such as Catalonia, Aragon or Extremadura.

"The regulation of these new projects (of renewable hydrogen), currently orphaned of specific environmental regulatory coverage, requires the modification of Law 6/2014, of July 25, on prevention, quality and environmental control of activities, to include them in it, from a simplifying perspective in view of the positive environmental balance that supposes its incorporation in substitution of much less efficient technologies", justifies in the standard.

Last Friday, during the institutional act of commissioning the works of the Volkswagen gigafactory in Sagunto, the president of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, unveiled the strategy that was followed to convince the company of the benefits of Valencia to host a key infrastructure for the future of the automotive industry: "We would not be here without having taken the initiative 525 days ago and without the prior development of this industrial area." That is, Valencia applied when he did not even enter the list of candidates and began working to prepare the arrival of the factory even before the confirmation of Sagunto.

This is precisely what we want to replicate in the Valencian strategy of green hydrogen, which proposes to reach a production of 2030,75 tons per year of this new fuel generated from renewable energies by 000. The Government of Puig has been working for two years on the deployment of this energy vector, aware that there are important business investments at stake and that the Valencian is not the only autonomy that will fight for them.

The hydrogen fever has not only unleashed a total madness in the markets, it has also caused a race in which regional and energy presidents fight hand in hand. Cepsa leads the "Andalusian Valley of Green Hydrogen", Iberdrola has laid the first stone of the hydrogen hub in Puertollano (Ciudad Real), Repsol has opted for the "Tarragona Valley" and Acciona leads the initiative of the Ebro Valley (Aragon, Catalonia, Navarra and the Basque Country).

Sources from the Ministry of Territorial Policy have confirmed to this newspaper contacts and conversations with Iberdrola, Enagás or BP to prepare the ground. That is, to enable urban planning instruments that facilitate the arrival of future projects, converting undeveloped land into industrial land.

The objective is again the same as with Volkswagen: to convince companies that all procedures will be streamlined and simplified, in this case, through the formula of the sustainable strategic investment project (PIES), according to the sources consulted. The roadmap of the Generalitat begins to bear fruit. BP Spain presented at the beginning of March the Hydrogen Cluster of the Valencian Community (HyVal), a project to produce green hydrogen in its refinery in Castellón, which could involve an investment for the oil company of up to 2,000 million euros.

The regional president also recently signed a protocol with Enagás for the construction of 450 kilometres of hydro pipelines in the region. This is the so-called Eje de Levante within the H2MED project (the plan to build an underwater hydrogen motorway from Barcelona to Marseille), for which an investment of 575 million is calculated, designed to respond to the consumption of the large industrial centers of the Valencian Community.

In the case of the Sagunto gigafactory, it was also pampered by the Generalitat as a strategic project, while the urbanization of the land that was borne by the Administration was advanced to the works of the infrastructure itself. For the commitment to green hydrogen, "we are getting ahead and looking for companies", these sources also confirm.

The interest of the Generalitat for this new renewable fuel lies, in addition to its potential to attract investment, in the urgency of the Puig Government to plug the wound that the escalation of electricity and gas prices has opened in much of the Valencian industrial fabric, nerve center of very energy-intensive sectors such as ceramics. This is confirmed by the new regulatory text: "These projects may already be on the verge of contributing positively to alleviate the serious situation of economic urgency and concurrent climate emergency."

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