Six EU members push for green hydrogen roadmap

They call on Brussels to increase funding and speed up legislation

Energy ministers from EU members Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and from Switzerland on Monday urged the European Commission to set targets for renewable hydrogen to 2030 and increase financial support for the technology. The ministers took part in a video conference of the Pentalateral energy forum.

The ministers said that the decarbonisation of industry and transport cannot be achieved cost-effectively without hydrogen.They called for EU hydrogen production targets for 2030 and a labelling system to incentivise use of “clean” versions of the fuel.

The energy ministers of the six EU Member States said this funding must be backed by legislation. In a joint declaration, they called on the Commission to “present a timely action plan followed by legislative proposals to enable a flexible, fit-for-purpose regulatory approach and to stimulate a liquid market for hydrogen in the coming years”.

The European Commission has already pledged to use its proposed €750bn recovery fund to support the so-called clean hydrogen, a fuel that can be produced using renewable power and which can replace fossil fuels in polluting industrial processes. The EU leaders have to discuss the Commission's recovery fund proposal at the summit later on Friday.

The EU consumes around eight million tonnes of hydrogen each year, most of which is produced from fossil gas, rather than renewable power. “In sectors like industry and transport, it is the missing link in the energy transition. To make this happen we need to scale up and reduce the cost of clean hydrogen,” Dutch economy and energy minister Eric Wiebes said.

The Commission should also assess how EU gas infrastructure can be repurposed to carry hydrogen, including through reforms to the bloc's energy infrastructure legislation, the countries said. The Commission is expected to publish an EU hydrogen plan later this month.

Germany and the Netherlands have already announced national strategies. Germany last week pledged €9bn from its coronavirus economic recovery package to scale up production of clean hydrogen fuel.

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