Now is the time to accelerate renewable hydrogen to replace fossil fuels

On 31 May, over 300 participants joined top EU policy makers and CEOs from major renewable energy companies, industrial sectors and hydrogen start-ups in Brussels to discuss the transformative power of renewable hydrogen. With only eight years to deliver the REPowerEU ambition, Europe faces an unprecedented challenge which calls for strong instruments at unconventional speed.

By 2030, the European Commission aims for Europe to consume 20 million tons (mt) of renewable hydrogen. Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, Mechthild Wörsdörfer, Deputy Director-General for Energy, Joaquim Nunes de Almeida, Director of Mobility and Energy intensive industries at DG GROW and Member of European Parliament Christophe Grudler were among the key EU policymakers who joined the Summit to discuss what it will take to achieve this goal, boost energy security and deeply decarbonise hard-to-electrify industry and transport.

Click here to watch the full Summit on Youtube

Renewable Hydrogen Summit: Key takeaways

  • Upscaling renewable hydrogen and its derivatives now can already reduce the European Union (EU)’s reliance on Russian natural gas in the short term in hard-to-electrify sectors and boost Europe’s energy security. Meeting all current polluting fossil hydrogen demand with renewable hydrogen (e.g. in industries like oil refining and fertilizer production) could reduce the EU’s gas demand by 12% [1].
  • Adopting ambitious binding targets in priority hard-to-electrify industry and energy intensive transport, notably aviation and shipping is essential not only to decarbonise these sectors but also to create the demand. These will also drive the rapid scale-up of integrated value chains in renewable hydrogen technologies and electrolyser manufacturing capacities in Europe with associated job creation. According to estimates, every billion EUR invested would deliver approximately 10,300 new jobs in renewable hydrogen supply chain in Europe [2].
  • Making access to public support faster and simpler is needed. REPowerEU doubles funding available to EUR 3 billion for 2022 via its Innovation Fund and roll out of Carbon Contract for Difference to switch to renewable hydrogen in industry. Other instruments such as Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) have suffered from important delays, which has led projects to be put on hold. To unlock private investments, newly envisaged support should be made accessible faster.
  • Ensuring fast-track permitting of renewables but also renewable hydrogen installations in the public and industry’s interest will be crucial to build energy infrastructure fit for Europe to be able to meet its energy climate objectives.

[1] Source: BloombergNEF

[2] Source: European Commission, Hydrogen generation in Europe (2021)

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