Google urges for restrictive ‘green’ hydrogen rules

The US internet giant Google, spearheading an alliance of several large corporations, has asked for stricter restrictions on what might constitute green hydrogen, opposing others who desire looser rules, as the multi-year debate over “green” hydrogen regulations continues in Brussels.

An essential energy carrier, hydrogen can be created using coal, gas, or electricity. The preferred, climate-neutral type is created by using renewable electricity to manufacture “green” hydrogen. The specific ruleset is now being developed by the European Commission.

In a letter signed by Google, Iberdrola, Wind Europe, and other corporations, they pledged to advance the continent of Europe’s objective to become the first to be climate neutral by the year 2050.

The lengthy debate over the specifics of so-called “additionality” standards, which the EU executive was tasked with establishing in 2018, was immediately addressed in their letter.

European legislators are concerned that the manufacturing of hydrogen will consume existing renewable resources, turning hydrogen into a zero-sum game. EU legislators want to connect the desired “green” label to “additional” renewable energy installations in order to combat this.

However, the alliance led by Google urged the Commission to adhere to the original strategy.

Therefore, the letter urged the European Commission to swiftly adopt a comprehensive Delegated Act on Renewable Fuels of Non-Biological Origin (RFNBOs), primarily hydrogen.

In order to “ensure that renewable hydrogen provides emissions reductions,” it was claimed that stringent standards were required.

Google demands hourly matching electrolyzers to renewables in terms of temporal correlation, “after a phase-in period.”

Given that there is adequate cross-border transmission capacity, electrolyzers and electricity production should be situated “in the same bidding zone, or else in neighboring bidding zones.” If a nation had more than one bidding zone, its borders would be sufficient.

The letter stated that “the Delegated Act should require hydrogen generation to promote the development of additional renewable energy capacity on European electrical grids,” citing rising electricity consumption.

They now belong to the more conservative group, who insist that hydrogen must be closely bound.

Instead, other interested parties call for fewer limitations. Berlin has previously requested fewer limits in a covert letter to the Commission. Paris sent one as well, pleading with the EU executive to allow for nuclear power.

Those who favor fewer restrictions warn that room is needed for the market to ramp up.

Instead, the Google-Iberdrola alliance asserts that the EU is in a good position to establish international norms and direct the development of the hydrogen industry “not just in Europe but around the world.”

According to the group, “the United States, for instance, will soon adopt its own rules, and strong standards in Europe will assure that the United States follows suit.”