It is always interesting to collect some of the most relevant opinions at an institutional level on the role that hydrogen will play in the European Union in the coming years. Beyond the official plans (for instance, the European Green Deal), the voice of the main community authorities always has a special weight in order to promote the adoption of green energies that help combat climate change.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, declared last January at the Hydrogen Council (launched in Davos four years ago) that “Clean hydrogen is a perfect means towards our goal of climate neutrality. It can power heavy industries, propel our cars, trucks and planes, store seasonal energy, heat up our homes. All of this with almost zero emissions”. Besides, “clean hydrogen can be the best choice in economic terms. The good news is: with enough commitment, we can reach the tipping point, where clean hydrogen becomes more competitive than its alternatives. With the right investment and the right policies, clean hydrogen can go mainstream. And this will create new markets for Europe, new economies of scale, new business opportunities. We aim at an annual production capacity for renewable hydrogen of one million tons by 2024 and 10 million tons by 2030. It is an ambitious yet realistic goal. We can achieve it if we join forces – public and private sector, all together”.
A few months earlier (October 2020), the Energy Commissioner, Kadri Simon, spoke like this at the high-level conference of hydrogen: “Hydrogen has the potential to be a game changer and in Europe we want to be the ones leading the way. The moment is right: Never before has our ambition and our determination for the clean energy transition been so high. This will provide the certainty for our industry and investors to put their human and financial resources into breakthrough solutions. Never before have renewable energies been so cheap: solar power and on-shore wind are in many places fully competitive or even cheaper than conventional electricity and off-shore wind prices have fallen spectacularly over the past decade. This trend is set to continue. The Hydrogen Strategy is the first time that we have looked at hydrogen from a holistic perspective, considering in particular renewable hydrogen’s potential to decarbonise difficult sectors like industry and transport, but at the same time helping to manage our electricity system and providing storage”.
From a broader perspective, the Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said at the European Committee of the Regions held in Seville that “the way we design our recovery today will define our future for many decades. We should not allow today’s crisis to compromise our green transition. The Green Deal is central to achieving the wider objectives of an EU recovery plan. The European Green Deal Investment Plan and the Just Transition Mechanism should be the building blocks of a ‘Green Marshall Plan’. Circular economy, zero pollution, biodiversity and sustainable food are all areas particularly relevant to a green recovery. The European Committee of the Regions has always been an important partner and the reference point between the EU and its local and regional governments. Only by cooperating with regional and local authorities will we make this transition a successful one”.
Finally, the executive director at FCH JU, Bart Biebuyck, launched the following reflection in an interview for fuelcellsworks.com: “Europe is a world leader in hydrogen and aviation technology. Combining both must make it possible to a clean hydrogen-propelled regional aircraft demonstrator by 2028. Europe’s strength is working together; both partnerships can bring all the top-engineers and scientists together to realize what no one has done before, building commercial airplanes that does not harm the environment. This will give future generations the freedom to keep travelling and exploring the world without a CO2 footprint”.