Renewable Hydrogen Coalition will position Europe as world-leader on renewable hydrogen

The new coalition will support and accelerate the uptake of renewable hydrogen solutions in Europe. A new study released at the launch shows that renewable hydrogen in Europe could grow at much faster rate than current strategies suggest.

Europe’s top renewable energy organisations are launching the Renewable Hydrogen Coalition today to give voice to businesses and thought leaders that will be decisive in positioning Europe as the world leader in renewable hydrogen, produced via electrolysis and based on 100% renewable electricity.

Comprised of SolarPower Europe, WindEurope, and supported by Breakthrough Energy, the Coalition will build a high-level and interdisciplinary network of innovators, entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders from the rapidly growing renewable hydrogen community, including industrial off-takers. The Renewable Hydrogen Coalition is being announced alongside European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, under whose authority the European Commission presented an EU hydrogen strategy in July, setting the goal to produce 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen by 2030.

The launch of the new Coalition coincides with the first edition of the EU Hydrogen Week. In a declaration to be released at the launch event, the coalition details the importance of renewable hydrogen in achieving the objectives of the European Green Deal and to reach climate neutrality. It will also help unlock the full decarbonisation potential of Europe’s economies, including end use markets such as aviation, shipping, and heavy industry.

The Coalition’s goal is to empower Europe to build on its flourishing renewables industry, create a world class electrolyser industry, and develop the business models and markets that will make renewable hydrogen mainstream. It will inform the policy debate with concrete proposals for the scaling up and market uptake of renewable hydrogen – traceability, infrastructure investments, market design, and incentives. The coalition also calls on leaders to redouble their efforts in research and demonstration, while scaling up investments to bring new technologies to the market more quickly.

Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO of SolarPower Europe, said: “Europe is a world-leader in many renewable energy technologies, including the latest innovative applications of solar. Now is a golden opportunity for Europe to develop a robust and competitive renewable hydrogen industry, so it can lead the world in this decarbonisation solution. In order to ensure that the European Commission’s ambitious climate targets are met, and that all sectors are decarbonised before 2050, renewable hydrogen provides the missing link, and the Renewable Hydrogen Coalition is ready to amplify Europe’s position on this technology and provide the necessary network and input.”

Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope, said: “To fully decarbonise energy in Europe we need renewable hydrogen. And it needs to be ‘made in Europe’.  WindEurope is pleased to be part of this Coalition. We want to help build a strong European renewable hydrogen industry – based on European renewables.”

Philip Hainbach, Head of Energy Policy and Governmental Affairs at Enapter, said: “Europe has the potential to become a technology leader in the promising future market of green hydrogen generation. The new Renewable Hydrogen Coalition will be a great facilitator to enable this potential by advocating for the needs of innovative solutions like the AEM technology developed by Enapter.”

The ambitions of the Renewable Hydrogen Coalition are underpinned by a new white paper produced by Material Economics, a consultancy specializing in clean energy innovation and energy transition. A key insight of the report is that Europe could commercialise renewable hydrogen faster than current strategies suggest through value chain collaborations with end-product producers, similar to what the European Battery Alliance has done for electric vehicles. Other insights include:

  • Renewable hydrogen is a significant investment opportunity of €550-700 billion with an abatement potential of 450-550 Mt CO2 (or 10% of Europe’s annual emissions).
  • Europe could mainstream renewable hydrogen much faster than current strategies suggest through value chain collaborations with end-product producers.
  • There is significant ‘hidden demand’ in the European economy for green hydrogen, with 540 TWh potential demand unlockable in the near term and 1200-1400 TWh in the medium-term, provided there will be sufficient cost decreases, investments, and policy support.
  • To realise this potential, Europe needs to act with speed and scale in four areas: establish lead markets (e.g. green fertilisers and steel), mobilise massive investments (especially in renewables as over 280 GW dedicated capacity is likely needed), accelerate innovation from early-stage research through demonstration, deployment and scale-up, and establish enabling policies and standards.

Per-Anders Enkvist, Founder of Material Economics, said: “We believe there is a good case for asking whether Europe should set itself even higher hydrogen ambitions for 2030 and also include sector demand targets the next time it reviews its hydrogen targets.”

Ann Mettler, Director Europe of Breakthrough Energy, said: “Green hydrogen is the buzz word of Europe’s energy policy but who are the entrepreneurs and doers that are driving this technology?  What do they want from policy, investors, and end users in order to unleash the potential of this zero-emission resource? The Renewable Hydrogen Coalition will be a dynamic platform for those who want to push the boundaries of innovation, who want to build the business models of the future and who want to actively build the net-zero economy of tomorrow.”

Supporting quotes:

Eric Scotto, CEO of Akuo Energy, said: “The world is now moving to hydrogen. Today, we have a unique opportunity to shape Europe’s next decades and make it genuinely green. Renewable hydrogen is not only 100% green, but it is also local: renewable hydrogen is the only gas coming from our own territories that will fuel our economy. There is no excuse for not grasping this amazing opportunity to deploy this vivid potential of the EU economy.”

José Luis Blanco, CEO of Nordex Group, said: “Hydrogen is one of the elements set to support the energy transition toward a climate neutral economy. To achieve this, it is crucial that hydrogen is produced with renewable energies. Wind power is a cheap and reliable renewable source for the production of renewable hydrogen.”

Miguel Stilwell de Andrade, EDP interim CEO and CFO, said: “Renewable hydrogen has been gaining momentum driven by ambitious decarbonisation targets and the need to complement electrification in enabling the use of renewable energy sources. At EDP, we see renewable hydrogen as part of our commitments towards a sustainable future.”

Anja Dotzenrath, CEO of RWE Renewables, said: “To help decarbonise the industry and hard to electrify sectors the European Hydrogen Strategy foresees 80-120GW of renewables are needed by 2030 to generate renewable hydrogen. Offshore wind can provide this additionality, but some prerequisites need to be fulfilled: offshore areas need to be auctioned and assigned fast and developers need a stable and effective support framework (carbon contract for difference). Furthermore, to incentivize hydrogen demand & supply the burden of levies and taxes on electricity need to be reduced.”

Matthias Taft, CEO of BayWa r.e. Group, said: “Ramping up green hydrogen in Europe requires scaling up renewable energy plants. Only if we realise economies of scale in solar and wind power generation, can we ensure lowest cost power supply for electrolysis. Hence, we need to take an integrated approach to the green hydrogen value chain, starting with green power. BayWa re. therefore supports this important initiative and looks forward to working with the coalition to bring forward a truly renewable hydrogen agenda.”

Ignacio S. Galán, Chairman and CEO of Iberdrola, S.A., said: “Europe must continue to lead the efforts to address the climate crisis. The European Green Deal and the recovery package will be key for a robust and green recovery and, at the same time, for reaching our climate goals. In the path of the decarbonisation of our economies, renewable hydrogen will become a strategic energy vector where direct electrification is not viable. Iberdrola has recently launched the major European project for producing green hydrogen at an industrial scale, showing that this technology can allow us to generate growth, jobs, and innovation in the short-term. The Renewable Hydrogen Coalition will be essential to contribute to the current policy debates and ensure that only cost-efficient and carbon-neutral energy solutions for the decarbonisation are pushed forward, to the benefit of our environment but also of European consumers and tax-payers.”

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