On Wednesday, June 10th, 2020, the Environment, Climate Change, and Energy Commission (ENVE) of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) adopted the proposals from European and Regional Minister Birgit Honé for an EU road map for clean hydrogen.
At the same time, the Federal Cabinet adopted a national hydrogen strategy. Birgit Honé, Minister for Federal and European Affairs and Regional Development and member of the CoR, explains:
“Climate neutrality in Europe will only be possible if we develop sustainable sources of renewable energy. A strong, clean hydrogen economy based on green hydrogen must play a central role in this. That is why we need an EU hydrogen strategy. I, therefore, welcome the fact that the European Commission is now responding to the calls for a CoR EU hydrogen strategy. I expect great progress here during the German Council Presidency. ”
Lower Saxony will also benefit from an EU hydrogen strategy. Regional Minister Birgit Honé said,
“Green hydrogen offers great potential for innovation, added value, and employment in Lower Saxony. Green hydrogen is becoming increasingly important for regional development and climate protection in our country. Lower Saxony will benefit from a supportive EU framework for hydrogen, for which I am committed in Brussels. ”
In Lower Saxony, many actors from business, science, and administration are involved in project partnerships. For example, the Salzgitter hydrogen campus, Hyways for Future in the northwest metropolitan region, the Northwest H2 hub in Emsland, or the hydrogen network in the Elbe-Weser region. The offices for regional state development actively support these processes.
The CoR had appointed Minister Birgit Honé for an opinion on clean hydrogen. In this, Honé calls for the swift and coordinated establishment of an EU hydrogen market and the support of hydrogen regions in Europe.
In her statement, Honé calls for five priorities for a future EU hydrogen strategy:
- Strengthening EU-wide demand and production. EU targets are needed for green hydrogen generation capacities, coupled with an increase in electricity production from wind, sun and water. Leading markets for green hydrogen technologies and their EU-wide use are important, primarily in energy-intensive industries, heavy goods traffic, aviation and shipping, and seasonal electricity storage.
- Supporting EU legal framework for market development and infrastructure, especially with an EU-wide sustainability classification of hydrogen, an integration of the hydrogen market with the electricity and gas market and the revision of the relevant EU legislation on renewable energies, the gas market and trans-European energy – and transport networks.
- Funding through investments, taxation, and state aid, including through the design of large, government-funded projects (so-called IPCEI projects) and the revision of EU energy taxation.
- Promote research, innovation, and education, including through the establishment of the European Clean Hydrogen Partnership.
- Promotion of regional value chains, including the participation of European regions in the European Alliance for Clean Hydrogen and the European Partnership for Clean Hydrogen.
The European Commission announced in June that it would present an EU hydrogen strategy. Minister Honé had previously held talks with various directorates general of the EU Commission and hydrogen actors from Lower Saxony.
Birgit Honé has been a member of the CoR since November 2013, first as State Secretary for Europe and Regional Development and then as Minister for Federal and European Affairs and Regional Development.
What is the CoR?
The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) is a 350-member advisory body created in 1994, in which the EU member states send regional and local political representatives. It is the task of the committee to advise the EU institutions on the legislation and initiatives by bringing in regional expertise on the one hand and to convey EU policy through its members in the regions and municipalities on the other.
What’s next now?
The CoR is now forwarding the proposal to the EU Commission so that it can take it into account in its EU hydrogen strategy announced for the end of June. The CoR will deliver the final opinion at its plenary session on 30/06/01/07.
Minister of Europe Honé will continue to promote the concerns of a green hydrogen economy and Lower Saxony hydrogen projects in Brussels and Berlin. She will discuss your proposals in Brussels with the European Commission and the European Parliament, emphasizing the importance of green hydrogen technologies for Lower Saxony as the No. 1 energy country in Germany for renewable energies. Furthermore, two international panel discussions/webinars with Lower Saxony participation as part of the European Week of Regions and Cities on October 13th and 15th offer the opportunity to discuss this topic with a specialist audience.
Source: State Chancellery of Lower Saxony