EU Awaits Renewable Hydrogen Law in May

Published on: 22 April 2022
by KnowESG

The European Commission plans to release technical legislation defining renewable hydrogen on May 18, but it is concerned about a legislator's idea that the renewables directive be expanded to include low-carbon gases.

A senior commission official informed parliament's energy committee that a delegated act would be proposed in mid-May, outlining the parameters for hydrogen to be considered renewable under the EU's 2018 renewables regulation (RED II). This effectively makes renewable hydrogen eligible for government subsidies.

Mechthild Worsdorfer, deputy director-general, said: "Our proposal on the delegated act on additionality covers both incentives for more renewable hydrogen and incentives to ramp up for the hydrogen industry."

The industry has claimed that leaked draughts of the legal definition of renewable hydrogen will "torpedo" the EU's hydrogen strategy, while parliamentarians have claimed that the commission's proposal will "overburden" the hydrogen industry. The act, according to German centre-right MEP Markus Pieper, is a "barrier" that stands in the path of the hydrogen economy.

Pieper is preparing a legal study on the commission's proposal to change RED II, and the energy committee will vote on 1,200 revisions on July 13th. He proposes lowering the demand for hydrogen for final industrial consumption derived from renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs) from 50 per cent to 40 per cent by 2030, as opposed to the commission's 50 per cent. However, he says that by 2035, industrial hydrogen will make up 70% of hydrogen production, and by 2030, low-carbon hydrogen will make up 5% of transportation hydrogen.

Worsdorfer proposed amending the renewables directive to include a definition of low carbon gases, allowing for Pieper's recommended renewables subsidies.