The European Commission has fallen for the fossil fuel
industry's hydrogen hype with its proposals for a 'European Hydrogen Strategy' published today, says Friends of the Earth Europe.
The strategy aims to boost the growth of hydrogen as
part of Europe's efforts to decarbonise its energy system, by creating a policy
framework and identifying projects for funding. But Friends of the Earth Europe
is concerned the Commission's focus on hydrogen is at the expense of more
important renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. The group also
criticised the failure to rule out support for hydrogen from fossil fuels, and
the clear risk of creating new vested interests.
Later today, the Commission will also launch the
'Clean Hydrogen Alliance', a body made up of representatives from industry,
public authorities and civil society with the aim of supporting the European
Reacting to the proposals, Tara Connolly, energy
campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said:
"The Commission has fallen for the fossil fuel
industry's hydrogen hype. The Commission claims that renewable hydrogen is the
future but by leaving the door open to fossil hydrogen, and gifting industry
influence through a new Alliance, the Commission is handing a new lifeline to
the failing fossil fuel industry. It's now up to MEPs and EU energy ministers
to ensure EU support goes to renewable hydrogen only, and to refocus efforts on
accelerating efficiency and renewables."
European Hydrogen Strategy:
Outlines plans to scale
up European renewable hydrogen production to 1 million tonnes by 2024 and 10
million tonnes by 2030.
multi-billion-euro EU funding mechanisms that hydrogen can benefit from,
including the EU's Covid-19 recovery fund, regional and cohesion funds and the
Just Transition Fund.
hydrogen' as hydrogen produced from renewable electricity but fails to rule out
supporting hydrogen produced from fossil fuels, using carbon capture
technology, or supporting hydrogen in sectors where better alternatives exist,
such as residential heating.
Establishes a 'Clean
Hydrogen Alliance', dominated by fossil gas industry representatives, tasked
with identifying projects to receive EU funding and given significant influence
over the sector's regulation.
Friends of the Earth Europe is calling on the EU to
refocus its efforts on driving efficiency and renewable energy, to explicitly
exclude fossil fuel-based hydrogen from receiving EU support, and to ensure
decisions on hydrogen policy and funding are fully independent and informed by
MEPs and EU energy ministers are expected to prepare
reports reacting to the Commission's proposals by the end of this year.