What’s next for the EU hydrogen economy? (September 11)

We are delighted to invite you to an in-person event which will be held on Wednesday, 11th of September 2024.

This event will consist of an afternoon of discussion on the steps the EU will take to foster the hydrogen economy during the next legislative term. The event will also be a timely opportunity to discuss the state of play in the sector, as well as the internal and external challenges the EU is facing.

Speakers and further details will be announced in the coming days, however, we are publishing this event now to ensure you save the date. 

This event is public and will be held onsite.

Due to a limited number of seats, please await final confirmation from us after registration.

This event is organised in partnership with

About the debate

The European Union is notably at a critical junction regarding the development, deployment and production of renewable and low-carbon energy technologies. Although Europe remains an important player, its sustainable competitive edge in global energy markets needs to be enhanced further in parallel with the decarbonisation of its economy and society.  

Against this backdrop, European institutions have taken action since the adoption of the 2020 EU Hydrogen Strategy and the 2021 Fit-for-55 package, which featured various legislative proposals in order to implement the European strategy on hydrogen within a defined policy framework. These proposals included targets for a dedicated hydrogen infrastructure as part of the hydrogen and decarbonised gas package as well as  targets for the use of renewable hydrogen in both industry and transportation by 2030, as detailed in the Renewable Energy Directive(RED) and its 2023 revision, namely the RED III.

Under this policy framework, the EU has considered hydrogen as a pivotal component of its energy policy and set the ambitious target to produce 10 million tonnes and import the same amount by 2030. However, according to a recent Hydrogen Council and McKinsey study, Europe is yet far away from its goals. Furthermore, the increased focus on hydrogen in other regions of the world, such as China, Japan and the US, has highlighted the urgency for timely action, as experiences from other energy sectors have demonstrated that technological innovation can advance swiftly and that it needs to be bolstered by an adequate policy and financial framework.

In this connection, notwithstanding the fact that the EU has taken several valuable steps to accelerate renewable hydrogen production and use, some observers have argued that there is a need for the EU to accelerate its pace to better foster the hydrogen sector. In addition, other observers have argued that the criteria for the production of green hydrogen and renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs) are excessively restrictive for allowing industry to fulfil the 2030 objectives. 

As far as the external dimension of the issues at stake is concerned, whether non-EU exporting countries will be able to meet the sustainability standards, and which is their potential to meet the EU’s hydrogen demand, are still a matter of discussion. For these reasons, the argument for a differentiated treatment for non-EU exporters during a transitional phase will not hold water until a global agreement and an effective carbon pricing system are in place.

As far as the question of availability is concerned, an adequate cross-border hydrogen transport and distribution infrastructure is key. This also includes access to a global hydrogen market. With special regard to the mobility sector, the need for a pan-European refuelling network has emerged. While the EU’s Alternative Infrastructure Regulation establishes minimum targets, the upcoming European Commission is behoved to monitor national advancements closely and to adjust hydrogen refuelling station targets, when necessary.

Both the Letta and the Draghi reports were commissioned to investigate how to tackle both competitiveness and sustainability concerns. However, to what extent the old continent will be able to meet its ambitious climate and economic targets remains to be seen.

This is a public event, hence the Chatham House Rule will not apply.

 The onsite welcoming at the premises of L42 will begin at 15.45. The event will start at 16.15.

The discussion will last around an hour and a half.

Due to a limited number of seats, please await final confirmation from us after registration

We look forward to hosting you on the 11th of September 2024.

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