International Hydrogen Policy Developments – An Update (July 2021)

August 3rd, 2021

This article summarises hydrogen-related policy developments in key global economies during 2021.

An earlier March 2021 Features Article International Hydrogen Policies – Key Features introduced the HyResource ‘Policy – International’ webpage, which includes a full suite of global hydrogen specific or related policy documentation, with National, State/Provincial and Supra-national (e.g. the European Commission – EC) jurisdictions included.

The purpose of this Features article is to summarise key hydrogen specific or related policy developments in several key economies since publication of the ‘Policy – International’ webpage in early 2021.

As at end July 2021, the complete country descriptions on the ‘Policy – International’ webpage includes all points discussed below. Country descriptions are targeted to be updated as quickly as possible following key releases or announcements.

Hydrogen-related policy initiatives in Australia can be found here.

United States (Department of Energy Hydrogen Program Plan released November 2020)

H2@Scale Initiative

In December 2020, the US Department of Energy (US DOE) announced US$33 million in funding to support innovative hydrogen and fuel cell R&D, infrastructure supply chain development and validation, and cost analysis activities. Activities that result from this funding opportunity announcement will support the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) H2@Scale Vision. The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office launched the H2@Scale initiative in 2016 to explore the use of hydrogen energy across sectors.

Information on H2@Scale technical reports, past funding opportunities and US DOE national laboratories capabilities can be found here.

American Jobs Plan

The American Jobs Plan announced by President Biden at the end of March 2021 included, amongst other things,  a range of infrastructure development initiatives: by way of example, one such initiative included the pairing of investment in 15 decarbonised hydrogen demonstration projects in distressed communities with a new production tax credit to spurt capital-project retrofits and new installations.

Complementary to this particular proposed initiative, the Plan proposed the investment of US$15 billion in demonstration projects for climate R&D priorities, including utility-scale energy storage, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, advanced nuclear, rare earth element separations, floating offshore wind, biofuel/bioproducts, quantum computing, and electric vehicles.

Energy Earthshots Initiative – Hydrogen Shot

In June 2021, the US DOE launched its  Energy Earthshots Initiative, to accelerate breakthroughs in clean energy solutions within the decade. The first Energy Earthshot—Hydrogen Shot—seeks to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to US$1 per kilogram in one decade. The Hydrogen Shot establishes a framework for clean hydrogen deployment in the American Jobs Plan, which includes support for demonstration projects. Topics in the Request for Information (RFI) included:

  • Hydrogen Production, Resources, and Infrastructure
  • End Users for Hydrogen Based on Specific Regions, Cost, and Value Propositions
  • Greenhouse Gas and Other Pollutant Emissions Reduction Potential
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (DEI), Jobs, and Environmental Justice
  • Science and Innovation Needs and Challenges

In July 2021, the US DOE announced US$52.5 million to fund 31 projects to advance next-generation clean hydrogen technologies and support its Hydrogen Energy Earthshot Initiative. The 31 projects will focus on bridging technical gaps in hydrogen production, storage, distribution and utilisation technologies, including fuel cells.

China (No specific Hydrogen-related Policy or Program Plan released)

China’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025)

China’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) was passed by the National People’s Congress in March 2021. In the Plan, hydrogen energy is included amongst several other industries such as brain-inspired intelligence, quantum information, genetic technology, future networks, deep-sea and aerospace development, as ‘future industries’ that China will seek to accelerate implementation plans for.

Media reports suggest that a hydrogen plan/strategy is being developed by the National Development and Reform Commission (reports suggest commercialisation efforts on behalf of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies is anticipated to be driven mainly by provincial efforts in the next few years).

Japan (Basic Hydrogen Strategy released December 2017)

Net Zero by 2050 and the Green Growth Strategy

In October 2020, in a Policy Speech to the 203rd Session of the Japanese Diet, the Prime Minister declared that Japan would aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050.

In December 2020, METI released Japan’s ‘Green Growth Strategy Through Achieving Carbon Neutrality by 2050’, which includes five cross sectional policy tools (or support measures) and action plans for 14 sectors. Decarbonisation of both the electricity and non-electricity sectors includes the widespread use of hydrogen (and derivative) energy.

In June 2021, METI announced an update to the ‘Green Growth Strategy’; the update is available in Japanese version as at July 2021. The update follows the April 2021 announcement by the Japanese Prime Minister that Japan would target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 46% in 2030 from 2013 levels while continuing to take on a challenge to aim at the goal of cutting emissions by 50% (this compares with the previous target of reducing emissions by 26% over the same time period).

Green Innovation Fund

In March 2021, METI released ‘The Basic Policies for the Project of the Green Innovation Fund’; the Fund was originally announced as part of a set of measures late in 2020 to support the net-zero by 2050 goal (with hydrogen energy, storage batteries and carbon recycling emphasised in the Prime Minister’s statement), is for an amount of 2 trillion Yen (US$18 billion equivalent) over ten years, and was established as a supplemental budget to the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO).

In May 2021, it was reported that NEDO had released guidelines and started taking applications for hydrogen projects under two categories (applications closed on 1 July 2021):

  • Establishment of a large-scale hydrogen supply chain: Fund allocation of 270 billion Yen (US$2.4 billion equivalent)
  • Generation of green hydrogen projects: Fund allocation of 70 billion Yen (US$640 million equivalent)

Basic Energy Plan

In July 2021, METI released a draft updated Basic Energy Plan (the previous update being three years prior). English press reports indicate that the share of renewables in electricity generation by 2030 is targeted to rise to 36% to 38% (versus 22% to 24% included in the previous Plan and 18% in the fiscal year to March 2020) and that fuels such as hydrogen and ammonia would account for approximately 1% of total electricity generation.

European Commission (EC – A Hydrogen Strategy for a Climate-Neutral Europe released July 2020)

Important Projects of Common European Interest / European Partnerships

On 17 December 2020, 22 EU Member States and Norway signed a declaration of intent in support of a hydrogen Important Projects of Common European Interest initiative (IPCEI – though press reports indicate that five signatory Member States, in a separate letter, have stated that an IPCEI on hydrogen must focus on hydrogen produced from renewable sources) .

In late February 2021, the EC presented its proposal to establish 10 new European Partnerships (including a Clean Hydrogen Partnership) between the EU, Member States and/or the industry, with the EU to provide nearly €10 billion of funding that the partners would match with at least an equivalent amount of investment. The Clean Hydrogen Partnership would focus on producing, distributing and storing clean hydrogen and, on supplying sectors that are hard to decarbonise, such as heavy industries and heavy-duty transport applications.

Delivering the European Green Deal: ‘Fit for 55’

In July 2021, almost two years after the EC presented its communication on the European Green Deal in December 2019 ( the ‘Green Deal’ is a growth strategy designed, amongst other things, to make Europe climate neutral by 2050), the EC adopted a set of proposals to make the EU’s climate, energy, transport and taxation policies consistent with reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels (labelled as ‘Delivering the European Green Deal’ and  described in the EC Communication ‘Fit for 55’: delivering the EU’s 2030 Climate Target on the way to climate neutrality.  The EC indicates that one-third of the €1.8 trillion investments from the Next Generation EU Recovery Plan, and the EU’s seven-year budget will finance the European Green Deal.

Germany (The National Hydrogen Strategy released June 2020)

International Cooperation

The German Government has progressed a number of international cooperation mechanisms, including:

  • In September 2020, the Governments of Australia and Germany signed an agreement to jointly fund a feasibility study to investigate a supply chain involving the production, storage, transport and use of renewable-based hydrogen. Under the name HySupply, a consortium of Australian and German research and industry partners is undertaking the study, which is expected to be completed by 2022.
  • In March 2021, the Governments of Canada and Germany entered into an Energy Partnership, establishing a formal collaboration across a broad range of energy priorities, including hydrogen.
  • In March 2021, the Governments of Germany and Saudi Arabia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) establishing closer cooperation regarding the production, processing, use and transport of green hydrogen.

Projects Funding Initiative

In May 2021, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Transport announced the selection of 62 large-scale hydrogen projects to be provided with more than €8 billion in federal and state funds as part of a joint European hydrogen initiative (the Important Projects of Common European Interest – IPCEI). Around €4.4 billion is to be provided by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and up to €1.4 billion from the Federal Ministry of Transport, with the remaining funds to be provided by the federal states. The target is for the projects to be approved by the EC under State aid law before the end of 2021. The selected 62 projects can be found here.

H2Global Foundation

In June 2021, the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy announced the operational launch of the H2Global Foundation (‘founded’ by an initial group of 16 companies). Through H2Global, renewable-based hydrogen or its derivatives would be purchased abroad with long-term contracts and resold in Germany via annual auctions. The Ministry will be providing €900 million to bridge the gap between the purchase price and the domestic sales prices. Under this funding platform, deliveries of hydrogen products are expected to commence in 2024.

France (National Strategy for the Development of Decarbonised and Renewable Hydrogen in France released September 2020)

National Hydrogen Council / Project Funding Initiative

In January 2021, the French Government announced the establishment of the National Hydrogen Council (which comprises hydrogen industry specialists and will work within the framework of the National Industry Council) to support implementation of the hydrogen strategy.

In February 2021, it is reported that the National Hydrogen Council presented initial plans for 3.2 GW of large-scale electrolysis capacity to key ministers (and which would require some €8 billion of investment, potentially benefitting by end-2021 from funding under the EU’s Important Projects of Common European Interest Program).

Reports indicate an initial 27 R&D projects have been selected for €212 million of funding support, €37 million coming from the French Government, with the French regions, ADEME (the French Environment & Energy Management Agency) and the EC also to provide supporting funds.  Projects include:

  • Hydrogen trains in four French regions, with electrolyser capacity to produce the hydrogen needed to power the trains
  • Hydrogen buses
  • Hydrogen storage and fuel cell systems manufacture to equip hydrogen use by (especially) heavy vehicles and passenger cars
  • Electrolysers to produce clean hydrogen with the objective to lower prices and to help develop the hydrogen economy.

Hydrogen Ordinance

In February 2021, the legislative framework to support industry development was progressed with release (and passing into law) of the draft hydrogen ordonnance (enacted under the 2019 Energy and Climate Law; the ordonnance would supplement the French Energy Code by the addition (it is reported) of a new title VIII ‘Provisions relating to hydrogen’). The ordonnance reportedly covers four key deployment aspects:

  • The taxonomy (classification/definitional basis) of hydrogen
  • The proposed government support mechanisms to support development of renewable-based/low-carbon hydrogen
  • Guarantee of origin/certification regime for renewable or low-carbon hydrogen
  • Licensing requirements for transportation of hydrogen in the natural gas grid.

United Kingdom (The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution released November 2020)

Transport Decarbonisation Plan

In July 2021, the UK Government released its Transport Decarbonisation Plan, which sets out the government’s commitments and the actions to decarbonise the entire transport system in the UK. The Plan discusses, amongst a range of decarbonisation avenues, hydrogen’s role in a decarbonised transport system. The Plan follows from the Decarbonising transport: setting the challenge, published in March 2020, which laid out the scale of additional reductions needed to deliver transport’s contribution to legally binding carbon budgets and delivering net zero by 2050.

Spain (Hydrogen Roadmap – A commitment to Renewable Hydrogen released October 2020)

Projects Funding Initiative

In November 2020, the Spanish Prime Minister announced that, for the period 2021-2023, €1.5 billion of public funding would be allocated to boost renewable hydrogen, through the Next Generation EU (mainly through the Recovery and Resilience Facility), such facility being endowed with €724 billion in loans (€386 billion) and grants (€338 billion) for the period 2021-2027 (of the total of €338 billion in available grant funding, approximately €70 billion is allocated to Spain).

Portugal (Portugal National Hydrogen Strategy released July 2020)

European Investment Bank MoU

In April 2021, it was announced that Portugal and the European Investment Bank (EIB) had executed a (non-binding) Memorandum of Understanding to support development of the hydrogen industry in the country.

Italy (National Hydrogen Strategy Preliminary Guidelines released November 2020)

Implementation Priorities

In November 2020, the Italian Association of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells (H2IT – which includes industry, research and university bodies involved in the hydrogen industry) released its report Priorities for the development of a hydrogen value chain in Italy. Seven main points were noted, including development of a clear legislative and technical framework, a certification scheme for renewable and low-carbon hydrogen based on Guarantee of Origin, development of a refuelling infrastructure for mobility, supporting research and development, and fostering collaboration between ‘hydrogen valley’ projects.

The Netherlands (Government Strategy on Hydrogen released April 2020)

Projects Funding Initiative

On 14 December 2020, the European Commission approved, under EU State aid rules, a €30 billion Dutch scheme (Stimulering Duurzame Energieproductie – “SDE++”) to support projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands. The SDE++ scheme will provide support to environmentally-friendly projects, including renewable energy, use of waste heat, hydrogen production and carbon capture and storage, in line with EU rules and consistent with the objectives of the European Green Deal. The Commission assessed the scheme under EU State aid rules, in particular the 2014 Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and energy.

Norway (The Norwegian Government’s Hydrogen Strategy released June 2020)

Hydrogen Roadmap

In June 2021, as part of the White Paper Putting Energy to Work -Long-Term Value Creation from Norwegian Energy Resources, the Norwegian government published a road map for hydrogen (as at July 2021, available only in Norwegian).

  • In the short-term, the main ambition is the establishment of maritime-related hydrogen hubs and increased hydrogen research
  • In the medium term – up to 2030 – the ambition is that hydrogen will be established as a realistic alternative in the maritime sector, with prospects for wider market-based development.

Official media releases and press reporting indicate the following key areas in the Roadmap:

  • In the period to 2025, the government, in cooperation with the private sector, would seek to facilitate:
    • The establishment of five hydrogen hubs in the area of maritime transport
    • Strive for the establishment of one or two industrial projects with associated production facilities
    • Implement five to ten pilot projects to develop/demonstrate new, more-effective hydrogen technologies
  • Strengthen research and development through the establishment of a research centre for environmentally friendly energy (FME) with a focus on hydrogen and ammonia
  • Contribute to a 2030 hydrogen development that makes possible:
    • A network of geographically dispersed and demand-based hydrogen hubs in line with the supply of vessels and vehicles
    • Hydrogen vessels that are a competitive alternative for shipping in Norwegian waters and short-sea shipping areas
    • The realisation of large-scale hydrogen projects in industrial applications with significant diversification potential
    • That use of hydrogen is a competitive alternative to fossil energy thereby supporting development of a hydrogen market in Europe through exports of goods and services
  • Undertake an assessment of instruments such as ‘Contracts for Difference’ in support of large-scale hydrogen production and use.

Projects Funding Initiative

According to press reports, funding for the development of hydrogen infrastructure and markets rose to NOK 185 million (€18.4 million) in the revised 2021 budget (issued May 2021) from NOK 100 million (€10 million) in the original 2021 state budget (issued October 2021). In the revised 2021 budget, an additional NOK 15 million (€1.5 million) would support establishment of the above noted FME research centre, which is set to receive NOK 30 million per annum (€3 million per annum) for eight years from 2022 onwards.

Poland (Draft Hydrogen Strategy released for consultation in January 2021)

Poland has been added to the HyResource ‘International – Policy’ webpage following information gleaned during this update process. A draft hydrogen strategy was released for consultation in January 2021 with a May 2021 presentation from the Ministry of Climate and Environment highlighting the five objectives of the strategy and several main indicators, including:

  • 2 GW of electrolyser & low-carbon capacity operational by 2030;
  • 800-1000 hydrogen-fuelled buses and a network of a minimum 32 refuelling stations by 2030;
  • Minimum of five hydrogen valleys developed by 2030.

Press reports indicate that an updated Strategy could be available in August 2021.

Ukraine (Draft Roadmap for Production and Use of Hydrogen in Ukraine released in March 2021)

Ukraine has been added to the HyResource ‘International – Policy’ webpage following information gleaned during this update process. The draft Roadmap for Production and Use of Hydrogen in Ukraine was published in March 2021 and will act as a foundation stone in the preparation of a National Hydrogen Strategy, expected to be released in 2021. The Roadmap presents three implementation phases over the course of this decade (with UNECE noting special consideration given to the use of hydrogen in road transport, which is considered an integral part of the overall Roadmap) and highlights four Pillars for the introduction of hydrogen technologies in Ukraine. The Ukraine HyResource description provides further information.

Canada (Hydrogen Strategy for Canada released December 2020)

International Cooperation

In March 2021, the Governments of Canada and Germany entered into an Energy Partnership, establishing a formal collaboration across a broad range of energy priorities. The Partnership is intended to position Canada as a clean energy partner of choice for Germany, notably for hydrogen, critical minerals and liquefied natural gas.

Hydrogen Strategy Implementation Strategic Steering Committee

In April 2021, the Minister for Natural Resources announced the Hydrogen Strategy Implementation Strategic Steering Committee. The purpose of the Committee is to establish priorities, guide actions, share knowledge and track results delivery on recommendations outlined in the national hydrogen strategy. The Committee is  co-chaired by Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association and comprises representatives from across industry, provincial and territorial partners, non-government organisations and Indigenous partners.

British Columbia Hydrogen Strategy

In July 2021, As part of CleanBC, the province of British Columbia released the B.C. Hydrogen Strategy, which outlines the province’s plan to accelerate the production and use of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen. The strategy includes 63 actions to undertake over the short term (2020-2025), medium term (2025-2030) and long term (2030-beyond). The Strategy’s immediate priorities include scaling up production of renewable hydrogen, establishing regional hydrogen hubs and deploying medium- and heavy-duty fuel-cell vehicles.

New Zealand (A Vision for Hydrogen in New Zealand released September 2019)

Projects Funding Initiative

The Catalyst: Strategic Call for Proposals: New Zealand – Germany Green Hydrogen Research Investment Round February 2021 opened for applications on 29 March 2021 (and closed on 4 June 2021). The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will fund up to three proposals with up to NZ$2 million available for each project over three years (with the applicants’ German counterparts to apply for funding through a parallel Call for Proposals by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research). Proposed research projects are to be in one of the following six green hydrogen sub-topics:

  • Production of green hydrogen through electrolysis, including direct photocatalysis
  • Production of hydrogen from biomass by gasification or fermentation
  • Thermochemical water splitting using high-temperature solar collectors
  • Research on system and sector integration of green hydrogen, including hydrogen use in urban settings and heating systems, and hydrogen integration into gas grids
  • Logistics and transport media including life-cycle assessment and synthetic transformations (e.g. liquid organic carriers, ammonia and other options)
  • Material science: fuel cell technology and electrolysis considering efficiency and sustainability.

Chile (National Green Hydrogen Strategy released in November 2020)

Projects Funding Initiative

In April 2021,  the Corporation for the Promotion of Production (Corfo), Chile’s Economic Development Agency, released bidding guidelines for its first call to develop green hydrogen projects.  In this first call, the tender is offering up to US$30 million for one or more projects of 10MW or more size  that can commence commercial operation by the end of 2025. Applications are due for submittal by 6 September, 2021. Reports indicate the US$30 million would be available from March 2022, an additional US$10 million is expected to be available from March 2023 and the remaining US$10 million from March 2024.


HyResource is a website collaboration between National Energy Resources Australia (NERA), CSIRO, Australian Hydrogen Council and Future Fuels CRC. It acts as a single source of information on key hydrogen-related organisations, policies and projects in Australia (with supporting information on New Zealand) .

This report is prepared for information purposes. It is prepared on the basis that it is as accurate as possible. While care is taken in preparation of the information, and it is provided in good faith, it does not guarantee that the information is totally reliable, accurate or complete. No responsibility is accepted for the persistence, reliability or accuracy of URLs referred to in this report and no guarantee is offered that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate. Accordingly, the information contained in this report should not be relied upon solely in making investment or commercial decisions.

The principal author of the article is Peter Grubnic: