Bianca Boverhoff

Projectleader Communication & Stakeholder Engagement H-vision

1. What is stakeholder engagement, and why is it so important?

Stakeholder engagement is a proactive approach based on sincere attention to the interests of all stakeholders, combined with transparency regarding one’s own interests. It leads to an early, proactive and constructive dialogue with the relevant parties involved. And this in turn fosters a long-term relationship that is based on trust – which is of crucial importance in a project’s implementation phase. It increases the likelihood of achieving end results that are in everyone’s interest and helps you to realise the project within the agreed-upon budget and planning.

There are a number of trends in society that impact how we work. People have less confidence in large organisations and no longer automatically respect institutions and authority. Social media has a huge and swift impact on developments. And the rise of ‘alternative facts’ and increasingly subjective worldviews have made it difficult to arrive at a common understanding. There is a strong call for companies and institutions to become more transparent. On top of this, we see an increased desire among stakeholders to become involved in local projects, or even become a co-owner – with renewable energy being a good example.

As the initiator of a project, you need to clearly determine how you relate to these matters – regardless of whether you have planned your project in an industrial setting – as in the case of H-vision – in the built-up urban environment – heat transition, for instance – or want to organise housing for asylum seekers, for example. Stakeholders want to be heard, they want to be involved, offer their opinions, have a say. We have to recognise that we need the support of people living and working in the area, and give thought to how we can get them involved. In the new Environment and Planning Act (Omgevingswet), ‘participation’ forms a key pillar in the permit issue process. This requires us all to adopt a different way of thinking and working – including in a project like H-vision. The good news is that if you manage to give the right shape to a project like this, it can be realised within your chosen planning and budget and enjoy broad support at the same time. And in many cases, you will even improve on your original plan in the process. I can speak from experience – there are a few good examples.

2. What’s the biggest misconception people have about this project?

That investing in the use of blue hydrogen will hold back the development of green hydrogen. We often get the question: ‘Why don’t we simply not invest in a green hydrogen network from the outset?’ The underlying idea is often that blue hydrogen unnecessarily prolongs the consumption of fossil materials and the fossil-based industry rather than contributing to a transition.

Hydrogen will play an important systemic role in the future’s climate-neutral energy economy. Parties are working to ensure that green hydrogen is a fundamental part in this system by 2050. However, it will take several decades until we can transition to green hydrogen on an industrial scale, in view of the pace at which green electricity is developing and the need to scale up electrolysers. At the same time, time is running out. We have committed to important climate agreements that are intended to halt global warming, and the ‘CO2 budget’ of our planet’s atmosphere is limited. The adoption of blue hydrogen as an energy carrier will allow industry to rapidly cut back its CO2 emissions, on a very large scale. H-vision’s blue hydrogen is made according to a unique procedure, in which around 90% of the hydrogen is produced from refinery gases, supplemented by natural gas. Since the H-vision network both produces and supplies hydrogen and simultaneously creates substantial demand, it will drive the development of the entire hydrogen chain. This also means that industry can start implementing technical adaptations – changes to furnaces, for example – in the short term, so that it is prepared at an early stage for the development of a far broader hydrogen economy. All in all, this is a hugely important step in the transition, in other words.

3. Which themes are currently on the agenda during meetings?

The current project phase centres on fine-tuning and rounding off the business case. This means that right now, we are predominantly focusing on stakeholders who can contribute to these goals. For example, we are examining which opportunities there are to secure financial support from the EU and the Dutch government. We are also conferring with potential new users of blue hydrogen. In addition, we are talking with a wide array of stakeholders about hydrogen’s practical value, importance, contribution and role in the transition towards a hydrogen economy and how it can be incorporated in the future energy system. And we are seeking to build connections with other hydrogen initiatives that contribute to the development of the hydrogen economy. In the development phase of this project, the focus will mainly be on stakeholders in the area surrounding the site of the project.

Bianca Boverhoff

Alice Krekt
Deltalinqs - Programmadirecteur Climate Program

Waarom is H-vision zo belangrijk voor Rotterdam?

De industrie van Rotterdam moet de uitstoot van broeikasgassen op korte termijn fors terugbrengen. De waterstof van H-vision biedt een uitstekende oplossing voor een snelle en aanzienlijke CO2 reductie. Een steun in de rug van de klimaatdoelen. Lees meer..

Harro van der Ree
ExxonMobil - EMEA CO2 reduction strategy executive

Welk moment in de nabije toekomst is belangrijk en waarom?

De verkiezingen. Het hele politieke landschap in Nederland kan weer veranderen, waardoor de onzekerheid om te investeren toeneem De onlangs gepubliceerde waterstofvisie van het kabinet bevestigt de rol. 
Lees meer...