On the 8th July 2020, the European Commission introduced its hydrogen strategy and launched the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance to help deliver it (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_1259).
It should be noted that hydrogen is essential to supporting the EU’s commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and for the global effort to implement the Paris Agreement while working towards zero pollution (https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/hydrogen_strategy.pdf).
As such, within an integrated energy system, hydrogen can support the decarbonisation of industry, transport, power generation and buildings across Europe. In essence, the EU Hydrogen Strategy addresses how to transform this potential into reality, through investments, regulation, market creation and research and innovation (https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_1259).
It is important to point out that hydrogen can power sectors that are not suitable for electrification and provide storage to balance variable renewable energy flows. However, this can only be achieved with coordinated action between the public and private sector, at EU level.
With this in mind, the priority is to develop renewable hydrogen, produced using mainly wind and solar energy (https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/eu-commission-charts-path-towards-100-renewable-hydrogen/).
The EU’s Hydrogen Strategy consists of a three phased approach towards a global transition. The first phase is from 2020 to 2024, whereby the Commission will support the production of up to 1 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen ((https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/hydrogen_strategy.pdf).
In addition, the second phase, from 2025 to 2030, sets out that hydrogen must become an intrinsic part of the EU’s integrated energy system, with the production of up to 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen in the EU.
Finally, the third phase, from 2030 to 2050, stipulates that renewable hydrogen technologies should reach maturity and be deployed at large scale across all hard-to-decarbonise sectors.
In order to drive and implement the Hydrogen Strategy, the Commission launched the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, that includes industry leaders, civil society, national and regional ministers and the European Investment Bank (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-07/hydrogen-s-role-in-europe-s-future-becomes-a-little-clearer).
Mr. Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, in charge of the alliance, stated that “The Alliance is strategically important for our Green Deal ambitions and the resilience of our industry” (https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/eu-commission-charts-path-towards-100-renewable-hydrogen/).
The Alliance’s responsibility will be to build up an investment pipeline for scaled-up production and to support demand for clean hydrogen in the EU. With this in mind, the EU Commission will work to introduce common standards, terminology and certification, based on life-cycle carbon emissions, anchored in existing climate and energy legislation, and in line with the EU taxonomy for sustainable investments, to target support at the cleanest available technologies.
Furthermore, the Commission will propose policy and regulatory measures to create investor certainty, facilitate the uptake of hydrogen, promote the necessary infrastructure and logistical networks, adapt infrastructure planning tools, and support investments, in particular through the Next Generation EU recovery plan.
Alongside the Hydrogen Strategy, the EU Commission also unveiled the EU Strategy for Energy System Integration that provides the framework for green energy transition, in order to deliver the climate neutrality by 2050 in a cost-efficient way (https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/energy_system_integration_strategy_.pdf).
Both the Hydrogen Strategy and the EU Strategy for System Integration, are in line with the Commission’s Next Generation EU recovery package and the European Green Deal (https://fuelcellsworks.com/news/european-commission-unveils-its-hydrogen-strategy/).
The Commissioner for Energy, Mr. Kadri Kimson, stated that “Hydrogen will play a key role in this, as falling renewable energy prices and continuous innovation make it a viable solution for a climate-neutral economy”, depicting the significance of the Hydrogen Strategy (https://www.h2-view.com/story/eu-unveils-hydrogen-strategy/).
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