The regulation of the future hydrogen infrastructure is at the core of today’s energy debates. Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE), the association representing the interests of European gas infrastructure operators, has published a position paper presenting the views and recommendations of its 70 members from 27 European countries, that own and operate the existing infrastructure, which is ready to be retrofitted and/or repurposed for transporting, storing and importing hydrogen.
This paper outlines clear policy recommendations that will boost the establishment of the hydrogen economy. It also presents the unique benefits of the gas infrastructure in integrating hydrogen.
“Gas infrastructure operators are very well-equipped to integrate hydrogen into their systems,” said Boyana Achovski, Secretary-General of GIE. “If we want to deliver climate neutrality by 2050 and achieving the targets of the EU Hydrogen Strategy, we need a very well-developed infrastructure for hydrogen. The existing gas infrastructure can offer that. Building on the existing gas network guarantees safe transport, storage and import of hydrogen. It also keeps the costs low for society and brings benefits to the whole energy system.”
GIE recommends applying a legislative framework that is coherent with the existing EU Gas legislation. Such regulation must be dynamic, evolving with the market and infrastructure development stages. Also, the association recommends acknowledging the role of gas infrastructure operators to integrate hydrogen into their systems. Additionally, it encourages the creation of a framework to guarantee cost-recovery for investments into hydrogen infrastructure
“The regulation of hydrogen should recognise the advantages that the existing transmission, storage and LNG infrastructure have for developing the hydrogen infrastructure in a timely, cost-efficient and socially acceptable way and should facilitate the efficient planning, financing and operation of the infrastructure,” explained Michael Schmöltzer, Chair of GIE Hydrogen Regulation TF & Director of Uniper Energy Storage Austria.
The benefits of the entire existing gas infrastructure show a complete picture where synergies exist due to the interconnections between pipeline, storage, and LNG infrastructure. Therefore, this well-developed and intertwined infrastructure system will guarantee the safe transport, storage and import of hydrogen.