France is leading a push for the European Union to include nuclear power’s low-carbon hydrogen in its renewable energy regulations, but some of its members are opposed out of concern that it will jeopardize efforts to fast build up wind and solar.
In a letter to the European Commission this week, ministers from France, Poland, the Czech Republic, and six other EU nations pleaded with the body to expand the EU’s renewable energy targets to include hydrogen derived from nuclear energy.
The key to the EU’s goals to reduce CO2 in sectors like steel production and fertilizer production is scaling up emissions-free hydrogen.
Nowadays, most of the hydrogen used by European industry comes from coal and gas, both of which emit CO2. The EU intends to set sectoral targets for hydrogen made from renewable electricity because hydrogen can also be produced from electricity.
According to the letter from the nine nations, which was obtained by Reuters, the EU should embrace nuclear energy, which is low-carbon but not renewable.
“We will establish equal incentives for hydrogen that is renewable and low in carbon. In fact, limiting our goals to renewable energy would slow the growth of our hydrogen economy “The letter, which was also signed by the following countries: Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary, and Bulgaria.
Nuclear energy has generally provided around 70% of France’s electricity, though maintenance issues last year caused the share to be lower than usual. The other signatory nations either currently employ nuclear power or have plans to construct their own reactors.
According to officials, the proposal is opposed by at least nine EU nations, including Germany, Denmark, Austria, and Luxembourg.
They contend that in order to encourage the vast expansion of renewables required to reduce Europe’s dependency on fossil fuels, the EU targets should only concentrate on renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
“About renewable energy. One EU official emphasized that nuclear power is not a renewable source of energy and advised against “diluting” “the renewable energy goals.
The late disagreement comes as EU nations and legislators get ready for talks on the law that would set the pace of Europe’s deployment of renewable energy this decade next week.
Although they are working to pass the bill in the coming months, negotiators cannot agree on whether the EU should pledge to obtain 40% or 45% of all of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.