A renewables-based EU Hydrogen Strategy can ensure success of green recovery

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Ahead of the EU Energy System Integration Strategy and the EU Hydrogen Strategy, organisations highlight the crucial role of renewable electricity-based hydrogen to support a green and job-rich recovery, paving the way for a climate-neutral, inclusive, and truly future-oriented EU economy.

Amidst the twin health and economic crises brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that the European Commission sticks to its flagship policy: the European Green Deal. Now more than ever, Europe needs to prioritise the most efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective pathways to decarbonise its economy. Renewable energy, such as wind and solar, not only provide the cleanest and most sustainable energy, but have become the most affordable power generation sources overall. Further, renewables accelerate the decarbonisation of the power, heat, and transport sectors, with the potential to create numerous and highly-skilled jobs for Europeans.

Through direct electrification of final energy uses, such as road transport, heating and buildings, and industrial processes, renewables provide a proven and scalable solution to achieve the full decarbonisation of over 60% of Europe’s final energy consumption. Ahead of the publication of the Energy System Integration Strategy, signatories call on the European Commission to accelerate the deployment of renewable electricity across these sectors, modernising Europe’s electricity grid infrastructure and driving the electrification of the economy.

The sustained deployment of renewables will also enable the production of CO2-free renewable hydrogen, bringing forward the decarbonisation of those sectors difficult to electrify, such as energy intensive industries and heavy-duty transport. Signatories of the letter therefore urge the European Commission to prioritise and support 100% renewable-based hydrogen produced through electrolysis in the frame of the upcoming Hydrogen Strategy, and enable the renewable energy sector to play an active role in the EU Clean Hydrogen Alliance.

Aurélie Beauvais, interim CEO of SolarPower Europe, said: “Renewables are already the most efficient and cost-effective power generation sources in Europe, with leading technologies and applications developed and implemented across the continent. Now, it is important to complement the efficiency of renewables in directly electrifying final energy uses with renewable-based hydrogen, that provides the missing piece to facilitate the complete decarbonisation of Europe’s energy consumption. The upcoming “Energy system integration strategy” and “Clean hydrogen strategy” are an opportunity to unlock clean, renewable hydrogen, that is produced right here in Europe, so as to deliver on the ambitious goals of the European Green Deal. Renewable hydrogen not only provides sustainable energy to hard-to-abate sectors, but further enhances sectoral integration and has the potential to create millions of local and highly-skilled jobs, contributing to the reindustrialisation of Europe.”

Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope, said: “More than 60% of final energy consumption can be covered directly by electricity. But some sectors will need different solutions. This is where renewable hydrogen, produced through electrolysis and based on renewable electricity, comes into play. The EU Hydrogen Strategy marks the starting point for a rapid development of an innovative European electrolyser industry. It is an important element of full energy decarbonisation and will make fossil-based alternatives redundant. A credible Green Deal agenda must build on renewable hydrogen.”

The “Choose Renewable Hydrogen” initiative currently includes 10 companies and associations: Akuo Energy, BayWa r.e., EDP, Enel, Iberdrola, MHI Vestas, SolarPower Europe, Ørsted, Vestas and WindEurope. Learn more about the campaign at http://www.choose-renewable-hydrogen.eu and join the conversation on social media using #RenewableHydrogen.

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