European Elections: Renewable Hydrogen Sector Calls for an Immediate Scale-Up Plan

2024 is set to be the biggest election year in history, with over half of the global population heading to the polls. In Europe, more than 400 million voters will choose a new five-year European Parliament between June 6 and 9. The next political leaders will face a unique opportunity to drive the growth of the nascent European renewable hydrogen industry into a global powerhouse for Europe.


Europe set pioneering policies to scale up renewable hydrogen and to deeply decarbonise hard-to-electrify sectors, currently responsible for 30% of global carbon emissions. Yet, despite strong ambition, the market has been developing slower than anticipated. The industry faces significant challenges, from rising capital costs, supply chain bottlenecks to a lack of fit-for-purpose electricity and hydrogen infrastructure.

Time is running out. For industries lead times and investment cycles, 2050 is tomorrow. Immediate and bold action is imperative or Europe risks losing the race for future-proof jobs, industries and cleantech.

Among all challenges, the most pressing remains the the gap between the willingness-to-pay by offtakers and the cost of renewable hydrogen. The RHC Chair Olivia Breese, CEO of Region Europe at the renewable energy company Ørsted, underlines: “Society is at a crossroads. For the energy transition to happen at the speed and scale necessary, collaboration, innovation and courage will be essential to scale up the production of electrons and molecules. Demand incentives and streamlined, smart financing models must be implemented. We urge the continuation of the European Hydrogen Bank to become Europe’s primary financing tool to deploy industrial-scale projects targeted at hard-to-electrify sectors, as well as the establishment of dedicated funding schemes for offtake and manufacturing”. She also urged policymakers to complement 2030 targets by targets for 2040 for renewable hydrogen: “Such targets are essential to set clear directions for markets over time, instil investor confidence and drive investments” she added.

To secure global leadership in renewable hydrogen, Europe must focus also on developing a robust and resilient value chain. The RHC Vice-Chair Håkon Volldal, President and CEO of electrolyser manufacturer Nel, voiced “Policymakers must adopt a strong European industrial policy to turn Europe’s edge in electrolyser technologies into global industrial leadership. This can be achieved by promoting European manufacturing standards across all legislation and public financial tools by complementing price-only auctions with non-price criteria. This will drive a race to the top and ensure taxpayers’ money brings back wealth and jobs to Europeans”.

With the right policies and financial support, the renewable hydrogen sector can build a competitive European industry, secure global leadership and enhance Europe’s security and resilience.

The time to act is now – for a Europe that leads, innovates, and inspires.

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