Europe’s leading renewable energy organisations have launched a coalition – the Renewable Hydrogen Coalition – to position Europe as the world leader in renewable hydrogen
Renewable hydrogen – or green hydrogen – as it is commonly known, is produced via electrolysis using renewable electricity from sources such as offshore and onshore wind and solar PV.
Comprised of WindEurope and SolarPower Europe, and supported by Breakthrough Energy, the coalition plans to build a high-level, interdisciplinary network of innovators, entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders from the rapidly growing renewable hydrogen community, including industrial off-takers.
The Renewable Hydrogen Coalition was announced by WindEuope and SolarPower Europe alongside with European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, under whose authority the European Commission presented an EU hydrogen strategy in July, setting the goal to produce 10M tonnes of renewable hydrogen by 2030.
The launch of the coalition coincides with the first EU Hydrogen Week. In a declaration, the coalition detailed 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.
WindEurope chief executive Giles Dickson 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.”
SolarPower Europe chief executive Walburga Hemetsberger 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.”
The ambitions of the Renewable Hydrogen Coalition are underpinned by a report produced by Material Economics, a consultancy specialising 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.
The report finds that renewable hydrogen is a significant investment opportunity of €550-700Bn (US$654-33Bn) with an abatement potential of 450-550M tonnes of CO2 (10% of Europe’s annual emissions).
The report also found significant ‘hidden demand’ in the European economy for green hydrogen, with 540 TWh potential demand unlockable in the near term and 1,200-1,400 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. Firstly, it needs to establish lead markets such as green fertilisers and steel. Secondly, it needs to mobilise massive investment, especially in renewables as over 280 GW dedicated capacity is likely needed. Thirdly, Europe needs to accelerate innovation from early-stage research through demonstration; and last but not least it needs deployment and scale-up, and to establish enabling policies and standards.
Material Economics founder Per-Anders Enkvist 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.”
Breakthrough Energy director Europe Ann Mettler said, “Green hydrogen is the buzzword 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-emissions 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.”
RWE Renewables chief executive Anja Dotzenrath said, “To help decarbonise industry and hard to electrify sectors, the European Hydrogen Strategy foresees 80-120 GW of renewables being needed by 2030 in order to generate renewable hydrogen.
“Offshore Wind can provide this, but some prerequisites need to be fulfilled. Offshore areas need to be auctioned and assigned quickly, and developers need a stable and effective support framework such as a carbon contract for difference. And to incentivise hydrogen demand and supply, the burden of levies and taxes on electricity need to be reduced.”