Thursday, 27 August 2020
Earlier in July, the European Commission (EC) unveiled new strategies for energy system integration and hydrogen that are designed to be key investment pillars of Europe's Green Deal, as well as its economic recovery post-coronavirus.
The prominence of hydrogen technology to the strategies was highlighted in an on-line debate in May.
Launched by Energy Commissioner, Kadri Simson and Executive Vice-President for the Green Deal, Frans Timmermans they noted the scope and necessity of the challenges ahead on the path towards climate neutrality. The EC believes that Europe "is highly competitive in clean hydrogen technologies manufacturing and is well positioned to benefit from a global development of clean hydrogen as an energy carrier."
The financial benefits of the strategies were stressed when it was suggested that cumulative investments in renewable hydrogen in Europe could hit 470 billion Euros by 2050 and that "the emergence of a hydrogen value chain serving a multitude of industrial sectors and other end uses could employ up to one million people, directly or indirectly."
But the new strategy document highlights that "deploying hydrogen in Europe faces important challenges that neither the private sector nor Member States can address alone." The need for consensus and investment beyond critical mass to enable regulatory frameworks, open new markets and sustain research and innovation was stressed, while highlighting the advantages of the EU and the single market.
In the medium term, from 2025 to 2030, the EC envisions hydrogen becoming "an intrinsic part of our integrated energy system, with at least 40 GW of renewable hydrogen electrolysers and the production of up to ten million tonnes of renewable hydrogen in the EU".
Kadri Simson added: "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."
Players in the European energy sector welcomed the EC strategies. Maria João Duarte, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems’ representative to the EU Institutions, said it is “pretty much on everyone’s agenda, as there is an overwhelming agreement among players on the importance of hydrogen in a carbon neutral Europe. More and more European countries have hydrogen on their political agenda.”