Dear Joao Pedro (Matos Fernandes)

Ministers, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

I am delighted to join you today. And I want to praise the Portuguese Presidency for placing the focus on renewable hydrogen.

I want to use today’s occasion to talk about five fundamental aspects of building a hydrogen market for Europe.

The first is about Strategy.

Setting a clear vision is key.  The Green Deal provided that vision as a guide for this mandate. And now it also provides an exceptional opportunity for recovery post-COVID. Renewable hydrogen is a key part of that vision of a climate neutral 2050.

That’s why - together with energy system integration - the hydrogen strategy was our first policy setting communication to reach the podium last summer. And I’m very pleased that the Portuguese government was among the first to follow in our footsteps with its own national renewable hydrogen strategy.

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Second, is Implementation. Right now we are working on our ‘Fit for 55’ package, our way to back up our climate neutrality ambition with concrete legislative proposals. And making sure that we are on the same page across all our policies, from energy to climate, from industrial policy to research and innovation.

Implementation also means delivering the missing pieces for building a European hydrogen ecosystem:

- Creating infrastructure to transport and store hydrogen;

- Producing higher levels of renewable electricity;

- Designing a certification scheme;

- Defining market rules;

- and establishing support schemes to promote hydrogen in the difficult-to-decarbonise sectors.

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Third, we have to consider Financing these plans.

It’s clear that any strategy for hydrogen is an investment agenda. At the EU level, we are expecting investments in the range of 320 – 460 billion EUR by 2030.

That includes:

  • up to 42 billion euro of investments in electrolysers;
  • up to 340 billion in renewables generation;
  • and up to 65 billion for transport, distribution, storage and refuelling.

At the same time, we need sustained investments in our R&D. We already have two large R&I calls for scaling up electrolysers and bringing large-scale demonstration projects to the market.

Under the Recovery and Resilience Facility, 37% of the expenditure will be dedicated to investment in projects for the green transition, making it a great opportunity for Member States to invest also in renewable hydrogen.

And under that same Facility we have published our flagship called ‘Power Up’ to guide Member State investments towards renewables, including renewable hydrogen.

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These actions to shape this hydrogen ecosystem and target the right investment is key. But our actions cannot exist in a vacuum. Any push towards hydrogen needs to consider the International Dimension. And that’s why our strategy dedicated a chapter to this very point.

Our strategy touches upon the opportunities to collaborate within the region, starting with our neighbourhood and in particular with Morocco and Ukraine, on developing projects and supporting cross-border trade.

At the same time, there is great scope for global cooperation. We have been long-time partners in particular with the US and Japan. Japan has led some of the most ambitious research programmes on the hydrogen value chain.

I see great potential in particular on exchanging best practices and developing a global rules-based market, including common standards, safety and certification.

Overall, we want to ensure coherence across our global partners willing to enter into the hydrogen race.

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Fifth, and finally, I want to talk about our hosts today. Portugal is an example for Europe’s energy system in the near future. You have:

  • More than half of your electricity coming from renewables;
  • Set a world record low cost for solar PV;
  • Signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Netherlands to ship hydrogen to the Port of Rotterdam;
  • Created a pipeline of concrete hydrogen projects;
  • And you are developing innovative support schemes to develop new projects on the ground.

Added to this, you are setting concrete targets for 2030, including an investment agenda of 7 billion EUR.

Portugal is a frontrunner. My ambition is that we see similar moves across the EU. More renewable electricity available, less reliance on fossil fuels, a strong hydrogen value chain, new industrial and technological opportunities matched with new job creation and a strong European market for hydrogen.  

Thank you.