Belgium Sets Out to Revolutionize Hydrogen Transport With New Legislative Proposal

By July 5, 2023 3   min read  (456 words)

July 5, 2023 |

belgium sets out to revolutionize hydrogen transport with new legislative proposal

In a landmark move to advance its hydrogen economy, Belgium’s Federal Parliament is deliberating a pivotal bill aimed at instituting a regulatory framework for the transportation of hydrogen via pipelines. This initiative is part of the country’s overarching strategy to establish Belgium as a European nexus for renewable molecules and enhance its leadership in the domain of hydrogen technologies.

Belgium has demonstrated its commitment to exploiting the potential of hydrogen as an energy vector, and this legislative proposal is a significant step towards achieving that goal. The objectives encompass positioning Belgium as a transit and import hub for renewable molecules in Europe, solidifying leadership in hydrogen technologies, promoting international cooperation, and building a resilient hydrogen market.

However, the existing regulations surrounding the transportation of hydrogen in Belgium are scattered. Unlike the comprehensive regulations that govern the electricity and gas markets, there is no all-inclusive regulatory framework for hydrogen. The proposed bill is poised to bridge this gap, introducing comprehensive rules tailored to the transport of hydrogen through pipelines.

The proposed legislation outlines critical provisions set to shape the regulatory landscape for hydrogen transportation in Belgium. The provisions encompass the designation of a hydrogen transport network operator, ensuring free and non-discriminatory access to the network at regulated tariffs, formulating a network development plan and investment strategy, and verifying the quality of the transported hydrogen.

To maintain fairness and prevent discrimination, the proposed regulations stipulate stringent unbundling conditions for the hydrogen transmission system operator. The vertical unbundling condition ensures that the operator cannot participate in the production or supply of hydrogen, natural gas, biomethane, biogas, synthetic methane, or electricity. Meanwhile, the horizontal unbundling condition mandates that the operator’s ownership of storage infrastructures and terminals must remain separate from hydrogen transport activities.

Additionally, the bill incorporates transitional measures for existing hydrogen transport pipelines in Belgium. Current operators are allowed to continue their operations under existing contracts but must facilitate interconnection with the network of the hydrogen transmission system operator. This approach fosters seamless integration and avoids any hindrances to the operator’s network development.

The Commission de Régulation de l’Electricité et du Gaz (CREG) is tasked with the responsibility of overseeing and regulating the hydrogen market, reflecting its role in the natural gas and electricity markets. The CREG will be empowered to make binding decisions, subject to the jurisdictional control of the Market Court.

While the draft bill is currently under deliberation in the Federal Parliament, it is expected to be supplemented by royal decrees and ministerial orders. This will ensure flexibility and adaptability, allowing the regulatory framework to evolve in step with the hydrogen market’s growth and changes.


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