The European Commission is studying the establishment of scenarios in which hydrogen production from fossil fuels can be considered "fully renewable" during the next four years, time that Brussels considers necessary for the planning and construction of renewable electricity generation facilities while increasing its green quota, according to a document accessed by Europa Press. The regulation that Brussels is working on establishes rules to qualify the production of renewable liquid and gaseous fuels of non-biological origin, as well as the resulting fuel, as fully renewable until December 31, 2026, as a transition period that offers room for the development of technologies that allow a rapid adjustment of hydrogen production.
Until now, it was considered that the installation using electricity for hydrogen production through a direct connection must always supply renewable electricity, so that if, for example, electricity obtained from the grid is used, the resulting hydrogen will not be considered renewable. However, given the huge amount of additional renewable electricity generation needed to make progress in decarbonizing current fossil electricity production, this can only be ensured by including strict additionality criteria in this methodology.
Brussels is therefore considering relaxing the requirements for hydrogen production to count electricity obtained by direct connection to an installation generating renewable fuels as fully renewable in order to increase the share of green energy. Thus, the text provides that fuel producers may count electricity taken from the grid as fully renewable if the facility producing the renewable liquid and gaseous transport fuel of non-biological origin is located in a supply area in which the average share of renewable electricity exceeded 90% in the previous calendar year. Electricity taken from the grid may also be counted as fully renewable if producers have concluded one or more agreements with economic operators producing renewable electricity for an amount at least equivalent to the amount of electricity declared as fully renewable provided that a number of criteria are met.
The directive on which the European Commission is working states that the production of renewable liquid and gaseous transport fuels of non-biological origin will help to integrate additional variable renewable electricity production into the energy system. However, the text also states that dependence on fossil fuels for electricity generation will decrease over time with the implementation of the European Green Pact and the share of energy from renewable sources will gradually increase. The approval of the regulation was initially planned for the last quarter of 2021, but it is still in the preparation and consultation phase while the Commission intends to make the proposal by the end of the year, although it is not yet confirmed, according to European sources consulted by Europa Press. The Commission will follow this development and reassess the requirements set out in the regulation when the overall renewable energy share target set out in Directive (EU) 2018/2001, which establishes the general framework for increasing the share of energy from renewable sources, including renewable electricity, with an EU-wide target of at least 45% by 2030.