To become climate-neutral by 2050, Europe needs to transform its energy system, which accounts for 75% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. The EU strategies for energy system integration and hydrogen, adopted today, will pave the way towards a more efficient and interconnected energy sector, driven by the twin goals of a cleaner planet and a stronger economy.
The two strategies present a new clean energy investment agenda, in line with the Commission’s Next Generation EU recovery package and the European Green Deal. The planned investments have the potential to stimulate the economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis. They create European jobs and boost leadership and competitiveness in strategic industries, which are crucial to Europe’s resilience.
In an integrated energy system, hydrogen can support the decarbonization of industry, transport, power generation and buildings across Europe. The EU Hydrogen Strategy addresses how to transform this potential into reality, through investments, regulation, market creation and research and innovation.
Hydrogen can power sectors that are not suitable for electrification and provide storage to balance variable renewable energy flows, but this can only be achieved with coordinated action between the public and private sector, at EU level. The priority is to develop renewable hydrogen, produced using mainly wind and solar energy. However, in the short and medium term other forms of low-carbon hydrogen are needed to rapidly reduce emissions and support the development of a viable market.
This gradual transition will require a phased approach:
• From 2020 to 2024, EC will support the installation of at least 6 gigawatts of renewable hydrogen electrolyzers in the EU, and the production of up to one million tons of renewable hydrogen.
• From 2025 to 2030, hydrogen needs to become an intrinsic part of our integrated energy system, with at least 40 gigawatts of renewable hydrogen electrolyzers and the production of up to ten million tons of renewable hydrogen in the EU.
• From 2030 to 2050, renewable hydrogen technologies should reach maturity and be deployed at large scale across all hard-to-decarbonize sectors.
To help deliver on this Strategy, the Commission is launching the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance with industry leaders, civil society, national and regional ministers and the European Investment Bank. The Alliance will build up an investment pipeline for scaled-up production and will support demand for clean hydrogen in the EU.
The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance aims at an ambitious deployment of hydrogen technologies by 2030, bringing together renewable and low-carbon hydrogen production, demand in industry, mobility and other sectors, and hydrogen transmission and distribution. With the alliance, the EU wants to build its global leadership in this domain, to support the EU’s commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
The alliance brings together industry, national and local public authorities, civil society and other stakeholders. It is strongly anchored in the hydrogen value chain, covering renewable and low-carbon hydrogen from production via transmission to mobility, industry, energy, and heating applications. It is open to all public and private actors with activities for renewable or low-carbon hydrogen that are ready to actively contribute to the objectives set out in the declaration of the alliance.
To target support at the cleanest available technologies, the 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. 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.
“The strategies adopted today will bolster the European Green Deal and the green recovery, and put us firmly on the path of decarbonizing our economy by 2050. The new hydrogen economy can be a growth engine to help overcome the economic damage caused by COVID-19. In developing and deploying a clean hydrogen value chain, Europe will become a global frontrunner and retain its leadership in clean tech,” said Executive Vice-President for the Green Deal, Frans Timmermans.
Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, also commented: “With 75% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions coming from energy, we need a paradigm shift to reach our 2030 and 2050 targets. The EU’s energy system has to become better integrated, more flexible and able to accommodate the cleanest and most cost-effective solutions. 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.”
Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, added: “The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance launched will channel investments into hydrogen production. It will develop a pipeline of concrete projects to support the decarbonization efforts of European energy intensive industries such as steel and chemicals. The Alliance is strategically important for our Green Deal ambitions and the resilience of our industry.”
Source: European Commission