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French hydrogen rules progressing to autumn deadline: industry lobby AFHYPAC


Talks going well ahead of November deadline

Lobby hopeful extension can be avoided

AFHYPAC details Eur24 billion support plan

Brussels — French secondary legislation to boost renewable and low carbon hydrogen production should be ready this autumn, a spokesperson for hydrogen and fuel cell association AFHYPAC told S&P Global Platts on July 28.

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With talks proceeding well with the government on issues on a new hydrogen chapter in France's Energy Code, including traceability via certificates of origin, the association hoped an original deadline of November 2020 would be met without needing a four-month extension allowed as a result of Covid-19.

AFHYPAC is pushing for the rules to include an incentive that closes the gap between the cost of fossil-based hydrogen production and renewable/low-carbon hydrogen production. This was a central demand in AFHYPAC's 12-point proposal for a national hydrogen plan published July 22.

In the plan, the association calls for France to build 7 GW of electrolysis capacity by 2030, producing 700,000 mt of potentially green hydrogen annually if renewable power is used in the process. That would be 50% of current national consumption, a more ambitious target than the current official 2030 target of 20%-40%.

The AFHYPAC plan would cost Eur24 billion ($28 billion), it said. The association wants the government to meet half the cost, split between Eur6.7 billion in investment costs and Eur3.6 billion in production costs.

The association noted growing appetite for investments in hydrogen with 160 projects responding to a call for expressions of interest issued by the government earlier this year, seeking a total Eur32 billion in support.

"Industry and investors need visibility and a framework over several years from now until 2030 plus support at several levels," if the industry is to achieve scale, the spokesperson said.

The association's other demands included incentives for the purchase of hydrogen-fueled vehicles, support to set up vehicle charging infrastructure, and a hydrogen quota in plans to decarbonize the taxi sector. It also wants 10% of gas pipelines to be transiting hydrogen by 2030.