Hydrogen is enjoying a period of renewed attention in Europe and around the world. Yet, hydrogen currently represents a modest fraction of the global and EU energy mix and is still largely produced from fossil fuels – notably natural gas and coal – resulting in the release of 70 to 100 million tonnes of CO2 annually in the EU.
The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) has welcomed the current European common efforts to develop a new role for hydrogen in the decarbonisation of the energy system. However, its production needs to expand to a much larger scale and find a cost-effective place in the electricity system.
Therefore, ENTSO-E has prepared some recommendations to EU policy-makers based on facts about system integration.
For ENTSO-E, it is imperative to develop the business case to use hydrogen in an electricity system operation support function. This business case does not currently exist. Nevertheless, future hydrogen system elements need to be planned today. Also, a properly designed regulated environment is necessary to support the development of hydrogen technologies, especially in the early phase when the market is not yet ready to invest.
Furthermore, scaling up new technologies and stepping-up R & D efforts will be critical to unlocking an integrated energy system’s full potential by optimising the use of existing infrastructure, ensuring secure and reliable operation of electricity networks despite energy transition challenges and operating optimally across various sectors and technologies without increasing the overall energy system’s CO2 emissions, thus achieving a climate-neutral Europe.