The Chairman of the Iberdrola Group, Ignacio Galán, together with the Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, participated in the Green Hydrogen Summit held in Brussels to discuss the policies needed to accelerate the adoption of renewable hydrogen in Europe and enable the implementation of the European Commission's REPowerEU plan, with the aim of reducing dependence on fossil imports.
The meeting, organised by the Renewable Hydrogen Coalition (RHC), brought together representatives from leading companies in the sector, EU decision-makers and hundreds of stakeholders to discuss the contribution of green hydrogen to decarbonisation and energy independence. The European Commission estimates that an acceleration of green hydrogen and its derivatives would reduce the EU's dependence on natural gas from Russia by approximately 27 bcm (27 billion cubic metres).
The chairman of Iberdrola, Ignacio Galán, and chairman of the RHC since last September, congratulated the European Commission "for its strong leadership in REPowerEU", which should be accompanied by "stable and favourable policies that stimulate supply and demand and drive investment". Galán assured that "renewable hydrogen is a solution for today and for the future. It can significantly replace imported fossil fuels and the polluting hydrogen manufactured from them". In this sense, he stressed that "the members of the Renewable Hydrogen Coalition are helping to meet the EU's climate and energy ambition, making our continent cleaner and stronger thanks to home-grown hydrogen with European technologies".
Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson stressed that "we need to diversify away from Russian fossil fuels. This means accelerating the ecological transition. Renewable hydrogen plays a crucial role in decarbonising industry and transport that is difficult to electrify. We need it for the planet, for our independence and for energy supply security. With RepowerEU, we plan to deploy this solution faster, taking our EU Green Deal ambitions to the next level and giving us the tools to make it happen."
In this context, the RHC calls on policy-makers to take the following measures without delay
- Adopt a definition of renewable hydrogen. The coalition welcomes the draft legislation proposed by the EC and recognises the important efforts made to better reflect the reality of projects: lengthy and complex authorisation procedures slow down the deployment of renewables that Europe needs to meet its energy climate targets. To meet REPowerEU's ambition, renewable hydrogen supply must be allowed to increase and its business cases must be secured.
- Speed up permitting for renewables and also for renewable hydrogen installations, in the interest of the public and industry. Expedited permitting is crucial to build the additional capacity needed for renewable hydrogen production.
- Adopt the most ambitious binding targets for boosting renewable hydrogen and fuel derivatives in hard-to-electrify industry and transport, as proposed by the European Commission. For RHC, binding targets are essential to send a strong signal to the market, unlock existing demand and drive major investments in the value chain.
- Ensure fast and simplified access to support and financing instruments. Economic actors still face high costs for switching to clean technologies. According to the Renewable Hydrogen Coalition, carbon contracts for difference could have a major impact if properly designed and quickly accessible, accelerating uptake by industrial actors.
The Renewable Hydrogen Coalition believes that the EU is at the right time to take decisive action to reach the European target of a 2,000-fold increase in current green hydrogen production capacity. "Increasing production capacities in line with REPowerEU's ambition will create a new European industrial champion: electrolysis. Building 120 GW of electrolysers in the EU in less than eight years requires an unprecedented effort from manufacturers and unconventional policy instruments. Industry and policy makers share the responsibility to drive the market with the necessary scale and speed. We cannot afford to make a mistake," said RHC Vice President Nils Aldag.
Iberdrola, an example of commitment to green hydrogen
In its commitment to leading the energy transition, Iberdrola is spearheading the development of green hydrogen with more than 60 projects in eight countries (including Spain, the United Kingdom, Brazil and the United States) to meet the electrification and decarbonisation needs of sectors such as industry and heavy transport. The group plans to invest 3,000 million euros in green hydrogen projects over the next few years, with the aim of developing 400,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year.
As it did with renewables 20 years ago, the company has once again pioneered the new technological challenge of producing and supplying green hydrogen. It has inaugurated the largest green hydrogen plant for industrial use in Europe, which will produce 3,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year.