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From the College meeting: Commission presents EU strategies for energy system integration and hydrogen


The College presented on 8 July two EU strategies crucial for the implementation of the European Green Deal: the EU Strategy for Energy System Integration and the EU Hydrogen Strategy. They should put Europe firmly on the path towards climate neutrality, while supporting the green recovery, and providing clean and secure energy to European citizens and businesses. The Energy System Integration Strategy should profoundly reform the European energy landscape. The goal is to have a more efficient and integrated links between energy sources and infrastructure to support decarbonisation and build a climate neutral EU by 2050. Such system will help build modern infrastructure, create jobs and provide clean energy for citizens as well as make European industry more sustainable and competitive. "If we want to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050, our energy system needs to switch from fossil fuels to clean energy,” said Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the Commission. “We need to break the silos between separate flows of energy production and use. In fact, we need a complete overhaul of the current energy system, which is quickly becoming a relic of the past: way too wasteful and way too rigid to be fit for a sustainable future.” The strategy is hence built on three elements: a more circular energy system, where no energy is wasted; the use of cleaner electricity produced from renewable sources, and the promotion of renewable and low-carbon fuels, including hydrogen, for sectors that are hard to decarbonise, such as heavy transport and industry. This strategy is also meant to support the economic recovery in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis. The NextGenerationEU recovery plan highlights the need to better integrate the energy system, as part of the efforts to unlock investment in key clean technologies and value chains. Complementary to this, the EU Hydrogen Strategy aims to give a boost to clean hydrogen production in Europe. Hydrogen, which can be used as a feedstock, a fuel or an energy carrier, has many possible applications, which would reduce greenhouse gas emissions across sectors. “Today's strategy lays out our vision and concrete roadmap for the role of hydrogen in our future energy system,” said Commissioner Kadri Simson. “It is an ambitious plan, but it is achievable: going from very little renewable hydrogen to 10 million tonnes by 2030 and around 13% of clean hydrogen in our energy mix by 2050.” Commissioner Simson explained that we needed to boost both supply and demand to achieve this. “On the production side, we most urgently need more and bigger electrolysers,” she said announcing that the Commission would later this year launch a call for a 100 MW electrolyser as part of the European Green Deal call under Horizon 2020. The Commission will also work on common standards, certifications and terminology and pilot a Carbon Contracts for Difference programme to facilitate the use of clean hydrogen in steel and chemicals production. On the demand side, she pointed out we needed other forms of low-carbon hydrogen in the transition period, and to connect the supply and demand, Europe needs infrastructure fit for ‘the fuel of the future'. In that sense, Commissioner Simson announced that by the end of the year the Commission would revise the Trans-European Energy Networks Regulation with hydrogen in mind.

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