Eight leading energy companies, together with Brussels associations SolarPower Europe and WindEurope have launched Choose Renewable Hydrogen, a joint initiative highlighting the crucial role of renewables to ensure a sound economic recovery, aligned with the European Green Deal.
Signatories called on the European Commission to make the right choices for Europe’s upcoming energy system integration and hydrogen strategy, harvesting the full potential of renewable electricity to fully decarbonise Europe.
“Amidst the COVID-19 health crisis and its economic implications, Europe needs to prioritise the most efficient, sustainable and cost-effective pathways to decarbonise its economy and to create jobs,” reads the letter sent to Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission. “The decarbonisation of the power sector through greater use of renewable energy coupled with the electrification of the rest of the energy system and energy efficiency will drive the clean transition.”
Hydrogen produced in Europe via electrolysers powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity, such as solar and wind, has zero greenhouse gas emissions or other pollution, increases the EU’s energy security and, when produced by grid-connected renewables, presents an optimised form of sector coupling.
“Renewable energy technologies are ready to form the backbone of the European Green Deal,” said Aurélie Beauvais, interim CEO of SolarPower Europe. “They are cost-competitive, highly scalable and can provide fully sustainable hydrogen solutions to achieve the last mile of Europe’s decarbonisation. The upcoming Energy system integration strategy and Clean hydrogen strategy will be pivotal to enshrining the right decarbonisation pathways for Europe: they must build on the immense potential of renewable electricity, which will enhance sectoral integration, create millions of jobs and provide the sustainable hydrogen needed to modernise and decarbonise European industries.”
Giles Dickson, CEO of WindEurope, reminded that renewables are nearly half our electricity now. But electricity is only a quarter of our total energy consumption while the rest is mostly fossil and less efficient than electricity. And, as stated by the Commission and the International Energy Agency (IEA), wind will play a key role.
“But we cannot electrify everything,” he says. “Some industrial processes and heavy transport will have to run on gas. And renewable hydrogen is the best gas. It is completely clean. It will be affordable with renewables being so cheap now. And it will be energy made in Europe creating jobs and growth in Europe.”