How to deliver on the EU Hydrogen Accelerator

Russia’s unprecedented military attack on Ukraine has turbocharged the European Union’s (EU) clean energy transition. The European Commission has formulated a bold, common action plan entitled “REPowerEU” to achieve independence from Russian gas well before the end of this decade. This action plan consists of three-pillars that will increase the resilience of the EU-wide energy system, i.e.:

  1. Diversifying gas supplies via higher LNG imports and pipeline imports from non-Russian suppliers and higher levels of biomethane.
  2. Accelerating hydrogen production and imports to 20 Mton by 2030.
  3. Reducing faster the EU’s dependence on fossil fuels at the level of homes, buildings and the industry, and at the power system level by boosting energy efficiency gains, increasing the share of renewable, and addressing infrastructure bottlenecks.

Via the Hydrogen Accelerator (Pillar II), the Commission proposes an additional 14,4 Mton of renewable hydrogen on top of the 5,6 Mton foreseen under the “Fit for 55” legislative package, i.e., 10 Mton produced domestically (in the EU) and 10 Mton of imports. The Commission argues that this 20 Mton of hydrogen could replace 25-50 bcm of Russian gas by 2030.

This position paper suggests tools and actions that are needed to realise the REPowerEU ’20-Mton-hydrogen-target-by-2030’ rapidly; this in terms of:

  • Infrastructure.
  • Storage.
  • Strategic reserve.
  • Creating ‘early demand regions’.
  • Utilising the H2Global instrument to kick start national hydrogen supply and demand.
  • Establishing a Europeanised H2Global instrument under the Global European Hydrogen Facility.
  • Decoupling supply and demand across time and geography.

Whereas this position paper focuses on the rapid deployment and scaling up of green hydrogen production, imports, and infrastructure, we recognise that a clear regulatory framework (e.g., via the amendment of the EU Renewable Energy Directive and its Emissions Trading System) is a condition sine qua non for realising the RePowerEU’s green hydrogen targets. Equally critical, but also beyond the scope of this paper, is the development of an international Guarantees of Origin system. Proper standardization and certification are necessary to increase investment security, mobilise private capital and facilitate imports.

Download full paper here

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