Yesterday (May 18), the Commission unveiled its REPowerEU Plan, which boasted €200m ($210m) in funding for hydrogen project research.
The plan, coming in reaction to the EU’s desire to cut dependency on Russian fossil fuels, and reach its ambitious climate targets such as Fit for 55, has detailed targets of producing 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen, and importing an additional 10 million tonnes by 2030.
Investment, estimated by the EC, of €28-38bn ($29.3-$39.8bn) of EU pipelines and an additional €6-11bn ($6.29-11.53bn) in storage, to accelerate the deployment of hydrogen infrastructure to produce, import and transport the 20 million tonnes set out in the plan.
To facilitate imports of renewable hydrogen, three import corridors via the Mediterranean, North Sea, and once possible, Ukraine, are set to be supported by the Commission.
Hydrogen Europe, representative body for European hydrogen companies has issued its support for the plan.
Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO at Hydrogen Europe, commented, “Hats off to the European Commission for drawing up this impressive legislative package in record time.
“Substituting fossil fuels and accelerating Europe’s energy transition requires strong demand and supply side signals which the REPowerEU makes very clear.
“The increase in sectorial sub-targets, the mobilisation of large funding and the guidance on permitting will facilitate a rapid growth in renewable energy projects.
“Finally, the industry needs simple and applicable rules to produce renewable hydrogen. Therefore, the publication of the two Delegated Acts defining renewable hydrogen remains instrumental for the industry to accelerate.”
Under the plan’s section, ‘Accelerating hydrogen’, it acknowledges that hydrogen will be key in replacing fossil fuels in hard-to-abate industries. To do so, the plan has outlined these strategies:
The EC has called upon the European Parliament and Council to align targets for renewable fuel usage to the 75% for industry and 5% for transport, as in the REPowerEU Plan,
Topping up Horizon Europe investments on the Hydrogen Joint Undertaking,
Publishing two Delegated Acts on the definition and production of renewable hydrogen for public feedback,
Calls for industry to accelerate the work on hydrogen standards on production, infrastructure, and end-use appliances,
Regular reporting on hydrogen uptake and renewable hydrogen uses in hard-to-abate sectors starting in 2025.
The Commission has also presented desires to explore the possibility of nuclear-based hydrogen to substitute natural gas.
The plan has received support from the European hydrogen industry. Jon André Løkke, CEO at Nel ASA, said, “The recently announced RePowerEU plan is good news for the electrolyser manufacturers and represents an important milestone for the green hydrogen industry in Europe.
“We recently opened the World’s first fully automated electrolyser manufacturing plant at Herøya in Norway and has initiated a site selection process for a new manufacturing facility in Europe, to make sure we are ready to increase production when needed.”
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