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Regulatory challenges ahead of the hydrogen vision

The momentum in Europe for hydrogen has increased rapidly over the past years leading to the publication of the Commission’s dedicated strategy in the summer. Despite the tremendous interest in hydrogen technology, the development of the European hydrogen market still has to overcome many regulatory and legislative challenges.

“Hydrogen has the potential to become a cornerstone of the transforming energy sector starting from 2030-2050,” said Csaba Vigassy, Head of Department at the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority speaking about the potentials and obstacles of scaling up the hydrogen economy.

Talking about infrastructural development Mr Vigassy pointed out that hydrogen indeed could be potentially transported via the existing gas grid after retrofitting. However, feed-in tariffs and blending standards have to be defined to facilitate this process.

Hydrogen-compatibility must be taken into account in the development of new gas infrastructure, which may require changes in standards, operating and commercial regulations, according to the Hungarian regulator.

Mr Vigassy emphasised that multiple sectors can capitalise on hydrogen technology. There are already existing promising initiatives related to the decarbonisation of the transportation sector, but the industry or the expanding market of renewables can also benefit from the implementation of hydrogen projects.

According to Mr Vigassy the key areas for the regulation of the hydrogen economy, such as the integration of green energy from hydrogen into the electricity system, must be identified as soon as possible to enable the long-term development of the hydrogen economy.

Currently, the Hungarian regulator aims to examine the regulatory sandbox drawing on various international examples, specifically in the field of hydrogen-based storage technologies and the utilisation of hydrogen as fuel.

While there is a clear consensus regarding the important role of hydrogen in the transformation of the energy sector, there are still many unknowns and interlinked regulatory uncertainties the emerging hydrogen economy must face.

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