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European Parliament backs legislative proposals on uptake of green gases


Energy committee adopts position on biomethane, hydrogen

'The age of hydrogen is coming': rapporteur Buzek

To bring more certainty for low-carbon gas investment

  • Author
  • Stuart Elliott
  • Editor
  • Daniel Lalor
  • Commodity
  • Coal Electric Power Energy Transition Natural Gas

The European Parliament Feb. 9 backed two legislative proposals to facilitate the uptake of renewable and low-carbon gases, including hydrogen, into the EU gas market.

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The Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) adopted its position on the two acts -- one regulation and one directive -- the Parliament said.

In their amendments to the directive, MEPs agreed that hydrogen corridors, identified in the REPowerEU plan, should be supported by adequate infrastructure and investments.

"The aim is to ensure that enough cross-border capacity is available to establish an integrated European hydrogen market -- the so-called 'hydrogen backbone' -- and enable hydrogen to move freely across borders," the Parliament said.

Jerzy Buzek, rapporteur on the regulation, said: "The age of hydrogen is coming. To make it happen in the EU, we need a stable and well-balanced regulatory framework, financial support as well as investments in new infrastructure."

The legislation will also create a certification system for low-carbon gases and ensure that consumers can switch suppliers more easily to choose renewable and low-carbon gases over fossil fuels in their contracts, the Parliament said.

Biomethane production

In the REPowerEU plan, the European Commission said it wanted to boost biomethane production to 35 Bcm/year by 2030 from around 3.5 Bcm now.

It is also targeting 10 million mt/year of renewable hydrogen production and another 10 million mt/year of imports by 2030.

Buzek said that in order to move "swiftly" away from Russian energy, the EU should accelerate its energy transition and adapt the market.

"We want to boost the development of biomethane and create incentives for producers and consumers to switch to green and low-carbon hydrogen," he said.

"Special support should be given to upscaling renewable and low-carbon gases in our coal regions. We are also strengthening the joint gas purchasing scheme and making all gas contracts in the EU more transparent."

In their amendments to the regulation, MEPs also said that by the end of 2030, member states should ensure collectively at least 35 Bcm of sustainable biomethane with the aim of replacing 20% of Russian gas imports.

European gas prices have come down from their record highs, caused partly by Russia's move to limit gas supplies to Europe.

Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed the benchmark Dutch TTF month-ahead price at Eur53.55/MWh ($58/MWh) on Feb. 8, down from the all-time high of Eur319.98/MWh on Aug. 26.

System coordination

Jens Geier, rapporteur on the directive, said the Parliament was calling for gas, hydrogen and electricity infrastructure to be planned jointly "to better coordinate energy systems in the future".

"The European Parliament allows -- in contrast to the Commission's proposal -- more certainty for investments in hydrogen infrastructure based on the existing natural gas grid, instead of imposing restrictions on investment," Geier said.

MEPs also proposed to reform trade body ENTSOG to also cover hydrogen network operators.

"The new ENTSOG&H would therefore also be responsible for the EU ten-year network development plan for gas and hydrogen networks," the Parliament said.

MEPs' amendments also included the mechanism for member states to coordinate gas purchases, initially set up under an emergency procedure.

The Parliament said it also wanted EU countries to phase out fossil gas as soon as possible "taking into account the availability of alternatives."

"Member states may decide on an earlier end-date for the duration of long-term contracts for unabated fossil gas before the end of the year 2049," it said.