The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) wants to give grid operators and energy suppliers the space to gain experience with the use of hydrogen for heating homes in anticipation of new legislation. That is why ACM allows pilot projects with hydrogen in the built environment if companies properly guarantee the safety of projects and comply with the consumer protection rules from the Temporary Framework for Hydrogen Pilots. The framework allows for a period of five years, or when the new legislation is ready.
In 2021, ACM informed the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK) that there is no legislation for the supply of hydrogen to consumers. There is also no legal basis for network operators to participate in experiments with hydrogen. Because it is important to gain experience with the use of hydrogen in the context of the energy transition, ACM is now ensuring that grid operators and energy suppliers do not have to wait for new legislation.
Manon Leijten, board member of ACM: “It is important for the energy transition that companies and consumers gain experience with the use of hydrogen. The starting point is that there is no difference for consumers between heating with hydrogen or with natural gas. For example, the supplier must ensure that sufficient hydrogen gas is always supplied and it must be clear what the costs are for the consumer. In addition, the rates must be reasonable.”
In the framework, ACM has also described what should happen if a project is not successful. For example, the network operator must restore the situation before the pilot free of charge if the supply of hydrogen can no longer be guaranteed.
In addition to properly safeguarding consumer interests, it is of course also important that hydrogen pilots are carried out safely. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy is drawing up a policy framework for the safety of hydrogen pilots and has informed ACM that this will be ready before the intended start of the first pilots. The ministry will also appoint a supervisor for the safety of hydrogen pilots.