RWE: New Delegated Act Puts Shackles on Green Hydrogen

There should be no limiting criteria for the producers and buyers of green hydrogen on the use of electricity to produce it, RWE said in a comment on a proposed delegated act in the EU which would permit only electricity from newly built, unsubsidised wind and solar energy farms to generate green hydrogen by 2026, after a short transitional period.

According to RWE, this would mean that it would not be possible to produce green hydrogen in large volumes before 2030, even if planning and approval processes for new renewable energy project are accelerated.

“The proposal that electrolysers may only produce hydrogen when electricity is almost simultaneously being produced by these new wind and solar farms is also problematic. This temporal correlation means that electrolysers would have to sit idle during any extended calm period. The result would be an unnecessary increase in the price of hydrogen due to more complex operations, and would make it almost impossible to ensure a continuous supply to industry”.

The delegated act “massively counteracts” the goals of increasing the expansion of renewables and accelerating the ramp-up of the hydrogen market under the REPowerEU initiative, the Germany-based renewable energy developer said.

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“Instead of accelerating the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy, the regulation puts unnecessary shackles on it”, RWE said in a press release on 23 May.

There should be no limiting criteria for around the use of electricity to produce green hydrogen, the company said, and the member states should instead take the additional electricity required to ramp up electrolyser capacity into account in their national build-out targets for renewables.

“Separate proof by the green electricity community would then no longer be necessary. The current revision of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) offers the opportunity to do this and, if implemented, this will make it possible to further unleash hydrogen’s potential”.

RWE added that, along with many other companies, it is prepared to invest billions of euros in green hydrogen and that many industrial companies want to convert their production processes. However, certainty that green hydrogen will be available as quickly as possible, in sufficient volumes, and at a reasonable cost is needed to enable this.

In terms of green hydrogen plans related to offshore wind, RWE has several developments underway, with one of the latest announced projects being H2opZee, which the company is developing together with Neptune Energy. The project involves using offshore wind energy for the production of hydrogen in the Dutch sector of the North Sea and an existing pipeline to transport the hydrogen to land.

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In May 2021, RWE and BASF presented a proposal to build a 2 GW offshore wind farm that would power BASF’s chemical site in Ludwigshafen, Germany, and enable CO2-free production of hydrogen.

In December last year, RWE signed a contract with professional services firm Jacobs to investigate the feasibility of installing a 100 MW electrolyser at the Pembroke Power Station site in Wales, the UK, to produce green hydrogen from local and grid-connected renewable energy. The project has the potential to grow to several gigawatts in scale, linked to floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea, and would become one of the UK’s largest green hydrogen plants in development, RWE said.

Last year, the company also entered into an agreement with Shell to explore the possibilities of establishing integrated projects for the production of green hydrogen using offshore wind power on a gigawatt scale in the industrial regions in the north-east of England such as Teesside and/or Humberside.

RWE and Shell already have a background of cooperation through the NortH2 project in the Netherlands, and AquaVentus in Germany.

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Photo: For illustrative purposes only. Source: RWE