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EU hydrogen law scheduled for May

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On May 18, the European Commission plans to publish technical regulations defining renewable hydrogen, but it is concerned about a legislator’s idea that the renewables directive be expanded to include low-carbon gases as well.

A senior commission official informed parliament’s energy committee that a delegated act will be submitted in mid-May, laying out the parameters for hydrogen to be classified as renewable under the EU’s 2018 renewables regulation (RED II). This essentially establishes the criteria for renewable hydrogen to be eligible for government subsidies.

“Our proposal for a delegated act on additionality contains both incentives for more renewable hydrogen and incentives for the hydrogen sector to scale up,” said Mechthild Worsdorfer, deputy director-general of the Commission’s Energy Directorate. Once a delegated act is introduced, Parliament and EU member states have minimal flexibility in changing it; they may either adopt or reject it.

The industry has claimed that leaked versions of the legal definition of renewable hydrogen will “torpedo” the EU’s hydrogen strategy, while parliamentarians have claimed that the commission’s plan will “overburden” the hydrogen industry. The legislation, according to German centre-right MEP Markus Pieper, is a “barrier” that stands in the path of the hydrogen economy.

Pieper is preparing a legal study on the commission’s request to change RED II, and the energy committee will vote on 1,200 revisions on July 13th. He proposes decreasing the demand for hydrogen for final industrial use derived from renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs) from 50 percent to 40 percent by 2030, as opposed to the commission’s 50 percent. However, he predicts that final industrial hydrogen will reach 70% by 2035, with a minimum goal proportion of low-carbon hydrogen in transportation reaching 5% by 2030.

Worsdorfer suggested that an amendment to the renewables directive include a definition of low carbon gases, allowing for renewables subsidies, as recommended by Pieper.

“We are very concerned that this addition would send the wrong message and incentives in a legislative text,” she said, arguing that the definition of low carbon hydrogen should be kept in the hydrogen and gas decarbonization package, and the directive should only focus on renewables and renewable hydrogen.

“With the present high gas and energy prices, as well as the geopolitical scenario,” Worsdorfer explained, “low carbon hydrogen produced from gas has become less desirable since it is more expensive.”

“I don’t think fossil fuels should be counted as renewables,” Pieper remarked. “However, we will not have 50 percent green hydrogen for the industry. That will not be the case. As a result, we must set low-carbon targets.”

Arnes Biogradlija
Creative Content Director at EnergyNews.Biz

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