Brussels — The European Commission will present an EU hydrogen strategy on July 8 as part of EU efforts to become climate neutral by 2050, EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson said on June 16.
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The strategy is to look at how to drive demand in a range of sectors, including heavy industry and transport, which are more difficult to decarbonize than power generation, for example.
The aim is to "fully exploit the potential of this promising energy carrier," Simson said in remarks published after taking part in an informal EU energy ministers' meeting by video on June 15.
The ministers agreed that hydrogen -- particularly from renewable sources -- was one of the key innovative energy technologies for helping the EU decarbonize and maintain competitiveness, according to the meeting's conclusions.
Ministers from seven European countries also specifically committed to cooperate on hydrogen in a separate joint political declaration signed on June 15.
The ministers from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, plus non-EU member Switzerland, pledged to "enable a forward-looking European hydrogen infrastructure and liquid market in the near future."
They identified a need for a "timely scale up" in producing hydrogen, particularly renewable hydrogen, in Europe, and for enhanced international cooperation to create "a global renewable hydrogen market".
All the ministers committed to look at the role of CO2 prices in developing a hydrogen market, and of taxes, levies and tariffs in sector coupling between electricity and gas, for example.
The six EU ministers also called on the EC to develop EU legislative proposals to "enable a flexible, fit-for-purpose regulatory approach" and to stimulate a liquid hydrogen market.
These proposals should take account of the carbon footprint of transporting hydrogen, they said.
They called on the EC to deepen international cooperation to ensure common global standards, such as on sustainability, given the expected future role of hydrogen imports in decarbonizing the EU's energy system.
The EC plans to present the dedicated hydrogen strategy along with an EU energy system integration strategy, which aims to optimize energy links between gas, electricity, transport, buildings and industry to use more renewable power and progressively decarbonize the gas sector.
It also plans to launch a Clean Hydrogen Alliance, a public-private initiative intended to kick-start domestic clean hydrogen production and use.
A similar initiative for developing a sustainable European battery sector has mobilized billions of euros of public and private investment since it was set up in 2017.