Eurogas feedback on a European Partnership for clean hydrogen

Eurogas welcomes the commitment of the Commission to set up European Partnerships to address the main challenges which the EU faces in its energy transition. We believe that the Commission made sensible choices in defining the scope of these partnerships.

We believe that Clean hydrogen, whether renewable, decarbonised or low carbon, as per the terminology exercise initiated by stakeholders in line with a request from the October 2018 Madrid Forum, provides solutions to achieve the energy transition faster and more cost-efficiently.

Today, the uptake of the production and consumption of renewable or decarbonised hydrogen is slowed down by by lack of political commitment, perfectible market design, important investment costs and varying technology readiness levels (TRL). Nevertheless, Europe has the potential to be a leader in this sector.

Therefore, Eurogas very much welcomes this initiative to establish a European Partnership on clean hydrogen in the form of a Joint Undertaking (option 2) as firm financial commitments and a clear institutional structure have proven to be efficient in the previous Joint Undertaking on fuel cells and hydrogen. Coordination between economic actors and between sectors, such as mobility, energy, heating and industry, is key and can be better achieved within this type of structure, which can also leverage more resources for research and innovation.

We would suggest clarifying the scope of the partnership –which technologies it aims at supporting – as well as the potential partners that could be involved. To this end we believe that

  1. a focus on promising technologies with a lower TRL (such as pyrolysis) is commendable and can help foster more research and innovation and make these technologies market ready
  2. In addition, would also welcome a focus on improving market conditions and infrastructure, especially for those technologies with a higher TRL.
  3. involving energy companies that own such infrastructure and industries that represent the main market for clean hydrogen would be particularly relevant and could make this partnership more successful
  4. As hydrogen can offer multi-sectoral solutions we also wish to stress that
    • Hydrogen is ideally placed to provide solutions to the challenge of long-term and seasonal renewable energy storage.
    • It can also tackle emissions in sectors where they are harder to abate – eg the industrial sector.
    • Finally, clean hydrogen and specifically power-to-gas and power-to-methane technologies can allow for the conversion of intermittent power which may otherwise be curtailed and lost. This power can then be stored or used in other sectors, thereby improving the resilience and interconnectedness of the energy system.

To conclude, Eurogas stresses the importance of consistency between these joint efforts and the political priorities of the incoming Commission, particularly the expected legislative package on energy.

We remain available for further input and we would be interested in taking part of this partnership.