The European Commission has launched two consultations on two delegated acts clarifying EU rules applicable to renewable hydrogen under the 2018 Renewable Energy Directive. Once adopted, these documents will complete the Commission’s overall proposal for a regulatory framework for renewable hydrogen.
The first proposal, covering Renewable Fuels of Non-Biological Origin (RFNBO), sets the criteria for products that fall into the “renewable hydrogen” category, important to meet the renewable energy targets for the transport sector. The second proposal on the methodology for GHG savings puts forward a detailed scheme to calculate the life-cycle emissions of renewable hydrogen as well as recycled carbon fuels to meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction threshold set in the Renewable Energy Directive. These documents are open for a four-week public consultation, ending on 17 June. The Commission invites all citizens and stakeholders to provide their comments.
After the consultations are concluded, the Commission will propose a final text to the European Parliament and the Council, who will exercise a two-month scrutiny period over the document before its final adoption by the Commission.
Given the important potential of hydrogen for supporting the EU’s decarbonisation objectives – further enhanced by the REPowerEU aim to phase out our dependence on imports of Russian gas –, these delegated acts are in line with the EU's ambition to boost hydrogen investment in the coming years.
However, hydrogen production could incentivise electricity generation from fossil sources, which would undermine the climate benefit of hydrogen and its role in strengthening EU energy security. This is why the Commission is also setting requirements that will ensure that increased generation of renewable hydrogen is matched with a corresponding rise in the renewable power production.
REPowerEU outlines hydrogen accelerator
Hydrogen has been identified as an important part of the solution for hard-to-decarbonise sectors, such as aviation and maritime and certain industrial sectors. In the REPowerEU plan, published earlier this week, the Commission tabled the concept of the hydrogen accelerator to roll out this new technology even more quickly.
In the Staff Working Document accompanying the REPowerEU plan, the Commission outlines actions to scale up demand and supply even faster and higher than in the 2020 hydrogen strategy. The REPowerEU ambition is to produce 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen in the EU by 2030 – increased from the 5.6 mt already foreseen within the proposals of the EU framework to decarbonise gas markets published in December 2021 – and to import 10 mt of renewable hydrogen from third countries.
- Staff Working Document implementing the REPowerEU action plan: Investment needs, hydrogen accelerator and bio-methane plan
23 Bealtaine 2022