Energy system integration and hydrogen strategies adopted to help power climate-neutral Europe
To become climate-neutral by 2050, Europe needs to transform its energy system, which accounts for 75% of the European Union's (EU) greenhouse gas emissions.
The newly-adopted EU strategies for energy system integration and hydrogen aim to pave the way towards a more efficient and interconnected energy sector, driven by the twin goals of a cleaner planet and a stronger economy.
The two strategies present a new clean energy investment agenda, in line with the European Commission's Next Generation EU recovery package and the European Green Deal. The planned investments also seek to stimulate economic recovery after the coronavirus crisis byt creating jobs and boosting European competitiveness in strategic industries.
Energy System Integration
The EU Strategy for Energy System Integration will provide the framework for the green energy transition.
Energy system integration means that the system is planned and operated as a whole, linking different energy carriers, infrastructures, and consumption sectors to increase efficiency and nd reduce costs for all.
For example, the electricity that fuels Europe's cars could come from solar panels on the continents roofs, while buildings are kept warm with heat from a nearby factory, and the factory is fuelled by clean hydrogen produced from off-shore wind energy.
The strategy sets out 38 actions to create a more integrated energy system. These include the revision of existing legislation, financial support, research and deployment of new technologies and digital tools, guidance to Member States on fiscal measures and phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies, market governance reform and infrastructure planning, and improved information to consumers.
In an integrated energy system, hydrogen can support the decarbonisation of industry, transport, power generation and buildings across Europe. The EU Hydrogen Strategy addresses how to transform this potential into reality, through investments, regulation, market creation and research and innovation.
The priority is to develop renewable hydrogen, produced using mainly wind and solar energy. However, in the short and medium term other forms of low-carbon hydrogen are needed to rapidly reduce emissions and support the development of a viable market.
To help deliver on this Strategy, the Commission is also launching the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance with industry leaders, civil society, national and regional ministers and the European Investment Bank. The Alliance will build up an investment pipeline for scaled-up production and will support demand for clean hydrogen in the EU.
To target support at the cleanest available technologies, the Commission will work to introduce common standards, terminology and certification, based on life-cycle carbon emissions, anchored in existing climate and energy legislation, and in line with the EU taxonomy for sustainable investments.
Executive Vice-President for the Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said: “These strategies will bolster the European Green Deal and the green recovery, and put us firmly on the path of decarbonising our economy by 2050. The new hydrogen economy can be a growth engine to help overcome the economic damage caused by COVID-19. In developing and deploying a clean hydrogen value chain, Europe will become a global frontrunner and retain its leadership in clean tech.”
Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, said: “With 75% of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions coming from energy, we need a paradigm shift to reach our 2030 and 2050 targets. The EU's energy system has to become better integrated, more flexible and able to accommodate the cleanest and most cost-effective solutions. Hydrogen will play a key role in this, as falling renewable energy prices and continuous innovation make it a viable solution for a climate-neutral economy.”
Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, said: “The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance will channel investments into hydrogen production. It will develop a pipeline of concrete projects to support the decarbonisation efforts of European energy intensive industries such as steel and chemicals. The Alliance is strategically important for our Green Deal ambitions and the resilience of our industry.”
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