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European Parliament Hydrogen Strategy

European Parliament Clarifies Position on Hydrogen Strategy

May 19, 2021 Work Area: Zero-Carbon Fuels

CATF welcomes the adoption this afternoon by the European Parliament of its own-initiative report on the Hydrogen Strategy. The European Commission unveiled its strategy on 8 July 2020. Since hydrogen has a key role to play as a decarbonisation enabler for hard-to-electrify sectors, the Commission strategy aims to scale up renewable hydrogen supply and demand, with a strong focus on infrastructure.

The strategy identifies three phases:

  • From 2020 to 2024, the Commission aims to install at least 6 GW of renewable hydrogen electrolysers in the EU and the production of up to 1 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen;
  • From 2025 to 2030, the objective will be to install at least 40 GW of renewable hydrogen electrolysers and to produce up to 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen;
  • From 2030 to 2050, renewable hydrogen technologies should be deployed at large scale to reach all hard-to-electrify sectors

Renewable hydrogen production will depend on availability of renewable energy and system efficiency to convert the electricity to hydrogen. To deliver the renewable hydrogen production ambitions stated in the Hydrogen Strategy only through water electrolysis, CATF estimates that the required forecasted electrolysers capacity will be higher than what has been reported in the analysis. For example, to produce 1 million tons of renewable hydrogen, 6 GW of electrolysers are required to operate 24 hours a day, seven days per week all year round, which is not feasible due to the intermittency of renewable energy. To produce 10 million tons per year of hydrogen 60 GW electrolysers need to operate continually 365 days per year.

While the strategy focuses on renewable hydrogen as the most sustainable option, the Commission recognizes the role of low-carbon hydrogen in the energy transition.

The role of low-carbon hydrogen will be crucial to accelerate the decarbonisation of the European economy and lay the foundations for future green hydrogen integration. Renewable and low-carbon hydrogen are required to support the energy transition and achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

Magnolia Tovar, Zero-Carbon Fuels Policy Director, Europe

Today, the Parliament voted on its own-initiative report on the strategy. While not binding, this report defines the position of the Parliament and will influence its future implementation by the Commission. Led by rapporteur Jens Geier (DE, S&D), the MEPs acknowledged the transition role of blue hydrogen. While this compromise position gained a majority, Green MEPs were reluctant and wanted to focus exclusively on renewable. By contrast, the EPP was calling for technological neutrality.

CATF welcomes the compromise on low-carbon hydrogen as a decarbonisation enabler. Low-carbon hydrogen can accelerate Europe’s emissions reductions in the short term, as well as developing its hydrogen infrastructure and build the foundations for future renewable hydrogen integration.

Among other measures, the Parliament called on the Commission in its report to present its legal classification of the different types of hydrogen as soon as possible and to provide a regulatory framework for the certification, guarantees of origin, labelling and tradability of hydrogen in the EU. The Parliament also called for the fast development of a pilot scheme for carbon contracts for difference, with a key focus on clean steel. MEPs also stressed the role of hydrogen to decarbonize the transport sector and the need to deploy refuelling infrastructure. In addition, the Parliament recognized the role of carbon capture and storage in making hard-to-abate heavy industry climate neutral.

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