The European Commission adopted two energy strategies on an EU-level on 8 July, which prioritise hydrogen production powered by offshore wind and other renewable energy sources, and set the stage for linking different energy carriers, infrastructures, and consumption sectors.
“The priority for the EU is to develop renewable hydrogen, produced using mainly wind and solar energy”, the EU Hydrogen Strategy reads. “On the way to 2050, renewable hydrogen should progressively be deployed at large scale alongside the roll-out of new renewable power generation, as technology matures and the costs of its production technologies decrease. This process must be initiated now”.
In the EU Energy System Integration Strategy, the Commission states that offshore wind energy in the EU, which has potential of between 300 GW and 450 GW by 2050, creates an opportunity for the nearby localisation of electrolysers for hydrogen production.
Offshore, the reuse of existing infrastructure of depleted natural gas fields also holds potential in these terms, according to the document.
“The existing gas network provides ample capacities across the EU to integrate renewable and low-carbon gases and repurposing gas network for hydrogen applications may provide in some cases a cost-efficient solution, including to transport renewable hydrogen from offshore renewable electricity parks”.
When it comes to the hydrogen strategy, the Commission sees low-carbon hydrogen produced by other energy sources in the short and medium term, to facilitate faster reduction of emissions and support hydrogen market development.
The strategy lays out a gradual transition to having massive amount of green hydrogen produced and in use, with a phased approach.
Until 2024, the EU will support the installation of at least 6 GW of renewable hydrogen electrolysers and production of up to one million tonnes of renewable hydrogen.
In the second phase, from 2025 to 2030, there needs to be at least 40 GW of renewable hydrogen electrolysers with up to ten million tonnes of renewable hydrogen produced in the EU. During this time, hydrogen needs to become an intrinsic part of the EU’s integrated energy system, the Commission states.
“From 2030 to 2050, renewable hydrogen technologies should reach maturity and be deployed at large scale across all hard-to-decarbonise sectors”.
The Commission said the two newly introduced strategies present a new clean energy investment agenda in line with the Next Generation EU recovery package and the European Green Deal.
“The planned investments have the potential to stimulate the economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis. They create European jobs and boost our leadership and competitiveness in strategic industries, which are crucial to Europe’s resilience”, the European Commission said on 8 July.