EU hydrogen strategy: guiding principles must be CO2 reduction and rapid transition to purely renewably produced hydrogen
The Environment Committee of the European Parliament (ENVI) today adopted by a clear majority (60/16/3) the opinion of Berlin MEP Hildegard Bentele (CDU) on the European Hydrogen Strategy:
“I am pleased to have been able to form a solid majority of conservatives, social democrats and liberals to add important environmental aspects to the ambitious European hydrogen strategy, while setting out a pragmatic approach that prioritizes the aspect of CO2 reduction and achieving economies of scale.”
The most important points at a glance:
- Acknowledgement that an ambitious hydrogen strategy is fundamentally important on the way to climate neutrality, and that the basis for this is the massive expansion of renewable energy via appropriate CO2 pricing. The life cycle emissions must be taken into account and transparency regarding the origin of the hydrogen must be established.
- Focus on the promotion and use of hydrogen derived exclusively from renewables, while recognizing the need to use transitional low-carbon hydrogen (under CO2 capture) to achieve rapid CO2 reductions, especially in heavy industry.
- Technology openness and recognition of the complementary role of hydrogen to electrification, depending on where there is added value for the use of hydrogen in terms of cost and energy efficiency, technological possibilities, regional and local conditions, especially in energy storage and the use of infrastructure.
- Creating a level playing field for hydrogen by revising and adapting the State Aid Directives, the Renewable Energies Directive, the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive, the blending rules for hydrogen, the European Emissions Trading Scheme, and the introduction of temporary incentive systems (carbon contracts-for-difference) to guarantee a level playing field for hydrogen with other renewable energies and the possibility of sector coupling.
- Expand and enter into international partnerships to promote renewable energy and renewable hydrogen for mutual benefit and towards the global goal of stable energy supply and CO2-free energy production.
- Establishment of high safety standards and recycling regulations for the raw materials used in electrolysers and for fuel cells, and no threat to regional water supplies from hydrogen production.
“There is no way around hydrogen on the road to climate neutrality, even if we remain open to other technologies. In this context, it is important to limit the transition to completely carbon-free hydrogen in terms of time and to make it as effective and sensible as possible. We see hydrogen’s greatest potential in energy storage and in carbon dioxide reduction in heavy industry and transportation. As for the large amount of additional renewable energy needed to produce “green” hydrogen, the European Union should strategically deepen and expand mutually beneficial partnerships with countries where abundant and cheap renewable energy is produced.”