Considering the legally binding target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared to the 1990 level, renewable and low-carbon hydrogen have become a high priority in Europe. The most awaited hydrogen and decarbonized gas market package, due this December, comes after one intense year in terms of regulatory adopted for clean energy transition, namely: EU Hydrogen Strategy – July 2020; EU Climate Law – June 2021; Fit for 55 package – July 2021. Accelerating decarbonisation and renewables in order to scale up energy efficiency on an energy internal market are issues tackled by the most recent Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, Council, Economic and Social Committee and Committee of Regions dated October 26.
In this decarbonisation of gases strategy, hydrogen is crucial, considering its multiple uses (as fuel, energy carrier, energy storage), and its multiple applications in various types of industries. Considering the very high demand of hydrogen, it is important to properly decide what low-carbon hydrogen (like blue hydrogen) will be included in the EU’s clean energy future market. How to repurpose the existing gas infrastructure to also operate hydrogen also is a key issue, but this will need to be done in parallel with the development of hydrogen valleys. Once more valleys get interconnected, and a backbone infrastructure is required, this should be regulated and operated by the regulated TSOs. Moreover, another key element is the creation of a guarantees of origin and certification system. Even if this is put in place at EU level, considering the EU as a hub, it needs to bear an international perspective of being able to replicate globally. To implement the transition to a hydrogen and low-carbon gas market, establishing an incentive scheme is also crucial.
All these issues will however require alignment of national laws with the EU regulatory. Besides the amendments to the Romanian energy law dated 2020, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan also mentions that a functional hydrogen strategy should be ready by the end of next year. The regulatory needs to be clear, so to attract investors in order to develop efficient projects on competitive markets in a consumer-friendly approach.