Hydrogen is cited as central to the decarbonisation of hard to abate sectors where electrification is not feasible.
During her opening remarks at the Session of the ITRE Committee in May, Commissioner Kadri Simson gave specific prominence to the role of hydrogen as part of how EU energy policy can drive a green recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Discussing energy system integration and hydrogen, commissioner Kadri Simson said specifically:
“In June I will present a Strategy to set out a vision of how the future integrated energy system should be. A more circular energy system, where waste streams are reused for our energy purposes, for example by making the most of waste heat from industrial processes or data centres. Second, a system allowing for greater direct electrification of end-use sectors. As more cost-effective renewable electricity becomes available, we must move forward with electrification of transport, heating or some industrial processes. And finally, a system using renewable and decarbonised fuels – including hydrogen – where electrification is simply not feasible, to decarbonise hard to abate sectors.
This strategy will be a compass to guide future actions. It will map out the existing obstacles for an integrated energy system and identify the concrete legislative and policy actions that the Commission will take to address them in 2021 and beyond. It will look into the many challenges of electrification of larger parts of our economy. It will also look into whether the gas market regulatory framework should be re-examined to facilitate the uptake of renewable gases and the empowerment of customers. It will set the scene for a more circular approach to energy production and consumption and look into the challenge of digitalisation.
Hydrogen is central to this discussion. It has strong potential to emerge as a key new energy carrier, a solution to decarbonise particularly difficult sectors like heavy industry and some parts of transport. In particular, renewable hydrogen, produced from water with renewable electricity can provide the missing link with multiple benefits, from grid management, to feedstock for industry to storage.
That’s why I will present, in parallel to our Energy System Integration, a stand-alone Communication on a strategic outlook for building a hydrogen economy in Europe. Everyone predicts a great future to hydrogen, even if today represents less than 2% of the energy mix. But this future will not happen, unless we deploy a strong policy support, in partnership with private sector.
The Strategy will examine:
- How to facilitate hydrogen’s innovative use in a range of sectors,
- How to allow its production to reach the necessary scale to make it competitive and
- And how to accelerate research and development to reinforce European industrial leadership.
We intend to bring together different work-streams inside the Commission, from the industrial dimension to the research dimension, from regulatory and infrastructure aspects to the external projection. This work is very much rooted in the recovery strategy, as hydrogen development could spur growth and jobs, directly and indirectly, and an upswing in investment and innovation to ensure Europe’s industrial leadership position.”
Read the full account of Commissioner Kadri Simson’s opening remarks at the Session of the ITRE Committee here.