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    Spain asks Brussels to exclude hydrogen produced with fossil energy from renewables

    March 20, 2023 - CE Noticias Financieras


      Spain, together with Germany, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal, have written to the European Commission to ask it to exclude hydrogen and "low-carbon" fuels from the renewables directive because they consider that "it would lower ambition and slow down the deployment of renewable energies, which in turn would jeopardize the achievement of climate targets, including the Paris Agreement". In a letter sent to the Vice-President for the European Green Pact, Frans Timmermans, and Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, - Europa Press reports - these seven countries have argued that "the production and use of low-carbon hydrogen and low-carbon fuels should not be incentivized through a directive on the promotion of renewable energies, especially by counting them in the overall targets for 2030."

      The countries refer to the directive presented by Brussels on February 13, which proposes to consider hydrogen production from fossil fuels as "fully renewable" if it generates 70% less greenhouse gas emissions than fossil natural gas over its entire life cycle. The signatory energy ministers stressed that renewable electricity and hydrogen will be the main drivers of decarbonization, as additional renewable energy capacity can be installed in "short" time frames and at comparatively "competitive" costs. However, they pointed out that decarbonization in the industry and transport sector in individual Member States is not yet sufficiently advanced, so renewable energy capacity will not replace other forms of low-carbon energy, but will displace fossil energy in these sectors.

      In this regard, they have refuted the view that an EU framework for accelerated deployment of renewable energy sources prevents Member States from defining their energy mix and considered that "counting low-carbon energy in renewable energy targets would rather reduce climate efforts and slow down investment in much needed additional renewable capacity". As the letter notes, the Renewables Directive does not prevent or prohibit Member States from using other sources of hydrogen and low-carbon fuels, while others may choose to achieve decarbonization through renewables alone, the "preferred" option for the seven-nation bloc.

      "This is our preferred path, as we consider it to be the only safe and sustainable path to climate neutrality and energy security," they said, although they are also "open" to discussing complementary pathways to decarbonization through hydrogen and low-carbon fuels in other policy frameworks, such as the Gas Package. In their view, a "clear" regulatory framework is needed for those countries that need it, which they recalled is being addressed in the ongoing revision of the Gas Regulation and the Gas Directive. This includes, the letter adds, "access to markets and networks, a delegated act defining low-carbon hydrogen and low-carbon fuels on the basis of a credible fossil fuel comparator and an ambitious lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, as well as a robust traceability and transparency mechanism to avoid greenwashing."


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