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Event wrap-up

The Hydrogen for Europe study is the result of a cross-sectoral, technology neutral research project charting potential pathways for hydrogen to contribute to the EU’s goal of net zero GHG emissions. Applying innovative and proven modelling, the study supports the realization of EU targets for 2030 and 2050 by assessing which mix of hydrogen technologies can best contribute to the EU’s current and future energy landscape – and what support is needed to enable this.

 

On July 7th, the Hydrogen4EU consortium[1] organised the webinar “Charting pathways to enable net-zero, what role for Hydrogen?” based on the Hydrogen for Europe study published 4th of May, 2021. The event brought together a high level panel of Commission, Parliament, IEA and gas industry speakers, and developed around the technological pathways towards climate neutrality charted in the study, resulting in a lively debate on the need for a hydrogen market and what type of energy mix would best suit Europe’s needs towards 2050.

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The event started with a keynote speech by Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean, who acknowledged the role hydrogen will play in decarbonising maritime, aviation and long-haul road transport in order to achieve the 90% emission reduction target for the transport sector by 2050. 

She reinforced the idea that every stakeholder must pull in the same direction to achieve a real transition, and that low-carbon hydrogen with carbon capture technologies need to enter the market to ensure enough production and ramp up the current hydrogen market.

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Johannes Trüby, Director Economic Advisor at Deloitte, briefly presented the study, its context, main results and conclusions for policy makers and company leaders. The moderator turned to him throughout the event for data-based comments on the ongoing debate, providing a scientific angle widely appreciated.

He explained that the current investment pipeline is not sufficient: even if all hydrogen projects announced to date were to be fully online by 2030, they would only produce about a third of what is set by the EU’s goal . This means that there is no time to waste to sort out the regulatory framework and attract investors.

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Peter Handley, Head of Unit in DG GROW, represented the European Commission: he welcomed the presentation on pathways to develop large scale hydrogen supply as it is very relevant for several industries in Europe.

He stressed the need for Europe to move fast in order to keep the leadership in this industry and obtain strategic autonomy in the energy sector. Furthermore, he signaled that the Commission has established the financial instruments to de-risk investment in these technologies. 

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MEP Cristian-Silviu Buşoi, Chair of ITRE committee in the European Parliament, made clear that decarbonisation of the energy system requires all available technologies. He also underlined that both renewable and low-carbon hydrogen will play an essential role in achieving climate goals. He called on the Commission to elaborate a Carbon Capture Use and Storage (CCUS) Strategy  to scale up its deployment by 2030, and urged for an enabling policy framework to develop a world leading and affordable mix of hydrogen production.

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Representing the gas value chain, Dawn Summers, President of GasNaturally, agreed with MEP Buşoi on the important role low-carbon hydrogen will play in the mix of hydrogen production, and backed Peter Handley on the need of a fast development of the hydrogen industry. Furthermore, she underlined the important role natural gas and low-carbon hydrogen will play thanks to technological advances while providing the necessary volumes.

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Closing the panel, Noé Van Hulst, Hydrogen Advisor at the International Energy Agency (IEA), insisted on the need for governments to take bold political action to unlock projects and investment opportunities, for instance through public-private partnerships, and the huge economic benefits and savings low-carbon hydrogen represents.

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The event concluded with an enriching exchange of points of view and a general agreement on the need for a fast and efficient energy transition.

 

[1] Research partners: IFP Énergies Nouvelles (research), SINTEF (research) and Deloitte (project management).

The research was funded by 17 partners: BP, ConocoPhillips, Concawe, ENI, Equinor, Ervia, ExxonMobil, Gassco, Hydrogen Europe, IOGP, Norwegian Oil & Gas Association, OMV, Shell, Snam, Total, Wintershall Dea, Zukunft Gas.