Off to a powerful start
For the opening session, the audience was joined by Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for the European Green Deal, Maroš Šefčovič, who sat down for an enlightening discussion alongside key industry players. The exchange covered the topics of legislation, financing, infrastructure, and ensuring production of key components for renewable hydrogen stays in Europe.
"If Europe wants to remain leading in politics, climate action and the biggest market in world... we need to be strategically autonomous. We want to stay pioneers in renewable hydrogen and we are ready to fight for it to ensure these technologies made in EU."
- Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for the European Green Deal, Maroš Šefčovič – a comment that was applauded by both panelists and audience.
"The only way we can build the renewable hydrogen sector we need to build for Europe, is in coalition. We need all actors to move forward together. What we need to do now is to scale. We cannot rely on first-movers only. We need policy, funding, and infrastructure. First-movers cannot feed their learnings out as quickly as it is necessary into the sector"
CEO Power-to-X, Ørsted
"This period has been unparalleled in terms of legislative progression and support. What is lacking is the carrot - we have the stick (regulation), but the carrot (funding) is too small, and it's too hard for those who want to implement projects to get a bite of this carrot."
President and CEO, Nel Hydrogen
Throughout the afternoon, sessions covered a range of topics from Renewable Hydrogen Market Outlook by BloombergNEF, to financing the European Green Industrial Revolution.
Zooming in on value chains
SolarPower Europe were proud to organise the session,“Seven Years to Deliver: the Need for Strong Value Chains,” moderated by our CEO, Walburga Hemetsberger. She opened the session by referring to European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen’s words in her recent State of the Union Address: “The future of our clean tech industry has to be made in Europe.”
MEP and Shadow Rapporteur for the Net-Zero Industry Act (NZIA), Tsvetelina Penkova, highlighted the strong focus the NZIA will put on the value supply chain:
“You cannot just focus on the final products, we also want to focus on the components. That means ensuring anywhere there is a certain expertise in the EU, that it is captured.”
MEP Penkova also discussed the importance of ensuring a level-playing field for Member States, which was welcomed by panelists including An Stroobandt, Deputy Head of Cabinet for the Federal Minister of Energy in Belgium, who said “the EU must keep its leadership in renewable hydrogen,” and Kim Hedegaard, CEO Power-to-X, Topsoe, who argued that, “we need to be globally competitive, and it won’t work if we create trade barriers.”
Agustín Delgado, Chief Innovation and Sustainability Officer, Iberdrola, urged for permitting and grid challenges to be addressed in order for the EU to meet its decarbonisation targets, fast.
“Right now, we need a fast transition, and we cannot take the same time we took before. Today what we need is connections to the site, and permitting that allows the sites to be developed for current uses of hydrogen.”
The panel also touched on the very first element in the value chain: human resources. Ensuring a skilled workforce will be vital to ensure the development of the renewable hydrogen sector in Europe, and facilitate a quick scale-up of the technology.
Time for action
Overall, it was great to see a room full of support and optimism for this emerging renewable technology, that will play a key role in helping Europe reach its climate and energy targets. We are in agreement on the challenges; the EU institutions have listened and are offering the right solutions. Now all we need is commitment to see the actions through, and get implementing on the ground.
In case you missed it, you can catch up on our recent Shine On Policycast episode with Impact Director of the Renewable Hydrogen Coalition, François Paquet, discussing the challenges and solutions for the renewable hydrogen sector.