Ten solar and wind associations, along with industry leaders, have launched a joint initiative − Choose Renewable Hydrogen − and are calling for the European Commission to prioritise renewable green hydrogen in its upcoming recovery and strategy decisions.
The initiative aims to highlight the crucial role of renewables, specifically green hydrogen, to ensure a sound economic recovery.
The CEOs from Akuo Energy, BayWa, EDP, Enel, Iberdrola, MHI Vestas, SolarPower Europe, Vestas, WindEurope and Ørsted argue that hydrogren produced in Europe through electrolysers powered by 100% solar or wind power has zero greenhouse-gas emissions and can increase the region’s energy security.
“Clean hydrogen is a much-hyped topic in the European Union (EU) green recovery and net-zero plans. The EU’s upcoming green recovery plans are set to be announced on May 27, which may feature clean hydrogen as high on its agenda for investment,” the CEOs say.
Equally, the European Commission is gearing up to announce both its Smart Sector Integration strategy, where hydrogen is also expected to feature, and the EU Hydrogen strategy in late June.
“It is a very welcome move to see large industry groups and renewable associations joining forces to call on the EU to focus solely on renewable green hydrogen, which can be powered by ever cheaper solar and wind power,” says German Institute for Economic Research energy economist Professor Claudia Kemfert.
She adds that, while blue hydrogen made from fossil gas and brown hydrogen produced from coal sound totally absurd, from Norway to Australia, the industry is currently dominated by this fossil hydrogen derived from polluting sources.
“Across Europe and the US, and within green new deals from South Korea to Spain, renewables growth can help change and propel the hydrogen industry into a force for good, as we seek to recover more wisely from the Covid-19 pandemic,” notes Kemfert.
SolarPower Europe interim CEO Aurelie Beauvais says renewable energy technologies are ready to form the backbone of the European Green Deal.
“The upcoming energy strategies will be pivotal to enshrining the right decarbonisation pathways for Europe: they must build on the immense potential of renewable electricity, which will enhance sectoral integration, create millions of jobs and provide the sustainable hydrogen needed to modernise and decarbonise European industries.”
Further, WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson notes that renewables comprise nearly half of the region’s electricity generation, however, electricity only makes up a quarter of the region’s total energy consumption.
“The rest is mostly fossil and less efficient than electricity. We need to electrify as much of this other energy as we can. However, not everything can be electrified and some industrial processes and heavy transport will have to run on gas.
“[This being said], renewable hydrogen is the best gas, owing to it being completely clean.”