European Commission-delegated Regulations defining the legal framework for renewable hydrogen have come into force.
With the growing global focus on transitioning to cleaner energy solutions, this new legal framework sets the stage for the widespread adoption of renewable hydrogen and its derivatives across various sectors. This article will delve into the goals, technology, potential impact, and challenges surrounding the implementation of these regulations, which aim to propel Europe’s hydrogen economy forward.
The Regulations, which appeared in the EU Official Journal in June 2023 and took effect on 10 July 2023, represent a pivotal moment for Europe’s hydrogen economy. They establish the requirements for renewable hydrogen and its derivatives, categorizing them as Renewable Fuels of Non-Biological Origin (RFNBOs) within the EU’s renewable energy targets. The regulations have been long-awaited as they play a crucial role in defining green hydrogen for all consumption sectors and serve as a blueprint for ramping-up the hydrogen economy.
The first Delegated Act (DA) focuses on the requirements for renewable hydrogen production and its derivatives to be recognized as RFNBOs. The Act emphasizes the principle of “additionality,” aiming to create additional facilities for renewable electricity production without relying on existing renewable energy plants. To meet sustainability criteria, there must be a temporal and geographical correlation between electricity generation and electrolysis, ensuring that renewable energy is generated and used simultaneously in the same area.
The three options outlined in the first DA address different scenarios of sustainable hydrogen production, including direct connection to renewable energy plants, drawing power from the grid with specific conditions, and utilizing Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for renewable electricity.
The second DA establishes the methodology for calculating greenhouse gas emissions associated with RFNBOs. The Act aims to achieve a greenhouse gas savings target of at least 70% compared to the fuels they are meant to replace. This calculation takes into account the entire life cycle of RFNBOs, including generation, transport, and end consumption. Hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels that exceed the emissions limit will not be eligible for counting towards Member States’ renewable energy targets.
With the European Commission’s new regulations in force, the continent is poised for a green hydrogen revolution. Defining the legal framework for renewable hydrogen and its derivatives sets the stage for an accelerated market ramp-up and investments in sustainable energy solutions. The adoption of these regulations brings legal clarity, fosters innovation, and unlocks the full potential of renewable hydrogen, making Europe a global leader in the hydrogen economy and contributing significantly to the fight against climate change.