On 29 October 2020, French Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Thierry Mariani of the Identity and Democracy Group posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“The EU hydrogen strategy would appear to show a clear political stance in favour of this energy. However, in the conclusions proposed by the German Presidency of the Council, low carbon hydrogen including its production by means of nuclear power is not mentioned. In other words, the concept of clean hydrogen seems to be giving way to a concept which could be described as green hydrogen, produced solely from wind and solar energy. This is of particular concern to professionals in the sector, as hydrogen produced solely from wind and solar energy will not be sufficient to be effective.
The concept of clean hydrogen requires further specification and should include processes that allow both the supply of low-carbon energy to the European market and its storage. Such pioneering technologies are being developed in Europe.
The European energy industry is not based exclusively on renewable solar and wind energy. It is, on the other hand, ready to commit to climate objectives and to participate in the energy transition by investing in research and development.
1. Given the energy exclusivism put forward in the text, how does the Commission intend to clarify the definitions of types of hydrogen?
2. Does the Commission intend to promote low carbon hydrogen (which is not necessarily green hydrogen) in order to protect Europe’s energy mix?”
On 25 January 2021, Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “ the Commission laid out its vision on hydrogen on 8 July 2020, in both its ‘Energy System Integration and Hydrogen’ strategies.
The Hydrogen strategy includes a set of definitions to cater for the different ways to produce hydrogen. The Commission considers in the strategy that ‘clean’ hydrogen, defined as renewable hydrogen, is the most compatible option with the EU’s climate neutrality goal. In this respect, the EU’s hydrogen strategy sets ambitious strategic objectives to install at least 6 gigawatts (GW) of renewable hydrogen electrolysers in the EU in 2024 and at least 40 GW by 2030.
At the same time, the Commission also noted in its strategy that other forms of low-carbon hydrogen can be considered, mainly to achieve short to medium-term emissions reductions from existing hydrogen production and also because Member States decide their own energy mix. The Commission intends to come forward with a certification system for renewable and low carbon hydrogen based on its greenhouse gas performance.
To further promote the development of renewable hydrogen production from electrolysers the Commission has published a dedicated call for proposals to develop a 100 megawatt (MW) electrolyser under the Horizon 2020 research programme.
Simultaneously, the Commission has finalised the first call under the Emissions Trading System (ETS) Innovation Fund, which has been open to an array of innovative low-carbon solutions, including renewables, energy-intensive industries, energy storage and carbon capture and storage.
Furthermore, the Commission has launched the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, tasked to build up a solid project pipeline for hydrogen investments and which is open to the deployment of both renewable and low-carbon hydrogen.”
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