Getting Hy?

Hydrogen is having a moment.

Governments, industry and investors appear to be converging on the potential for clean hydrogen to propel the global energy transition. Governments in a number of key jurisdictions globally have published hydrogen strategies in the past 18 months, including, in Europe alone, Spain, Germany, France, Portugal, the Netherlands, the European Commission and the United Kingdom. There is a clear sense in which clean hydrogen is viewed by many countries as the “missing link” required in order to achieve a fully functioning net zero economy consistent with their Paris Agreement objectives.

In this series, we will be taking a closer look at the vision that is generating all the excitement; the politics; the use cases favoured by different countries; what the business models might need to be and what is currently contemplated; and the new legal changes needed to bring this new (rather inflammable) commodity into our everyday lives.

To view our H2 credentials

Part 1

Hy-Ambitions: a vision for a new energy vector

The climate emergency is occupying mainstream policy focus in many countries. While the profound growth of the renewable energy sector over the past two decades has enabled rapid decarbonisation of electrical systems, there is rising recognition of the need to identify methods of decarbonising energy for those sectors which are difficult to electrify, such as industrial processes, high usage or long-haul transport, and fuel for buildings as well as to remove emissions from chemical processes.

With a lack of viable alternatives to achieve the levels of deep decarbonisation consistent with net zero targets, clean hydrogen may offer the solution and has unprecedented political and industry momentum. In this chapter, we explore the motivations that may help to maintain that momentum and some of the most promising use cases.

Read chapter 1

Part 2

Hy Politics: political considerations shaping the evolution of clean hydrogen policy

As set out in the first part chapter of this series, it is possible to get very excited about a brave new world with a renewable and hydrogen economy. But whether any particular country will get there, and how it goes about getting there, is likely to be driven by the political context of clean hydrogen at a more granular and domestic level.

In this chapter we consider some of the key political issues shaping this debate and how individual countries are shaping up on the use cases for hydrogen.

Read chapter 2

Australia    Belgium  •  The EU  •  France  •  Germany  •  Italy  •  Japan  •  The Netherlands  •  Poland  •  Portugal  •  Spain    The UK

Australia

While hydrogen has, in Australia, historically served mainly as an input into various industrial processes, both federal and state governments have committed to expand the use of hydrogen to, among other things, transportation and heat. In 2018, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation published the National Hydrogen Roadmap, which identified hydrogen as having applicability and value in the areas of transport, remote area power systems, industrial feedstocks, for export, electricity generation, producing heat and synthetic fuels. Australia is one of the few countries for which the potential for hydrogen to become a major export is a significant motivator in developing its hydrogen capabilities. To this end, Australia has developed ties with Japan, Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands and Germany to investigate future hydrogen export.

The key drivers for these use cases are a reduction in greenhouse gases and the ability to secure a reliable domestic supply of fuel for heat and transport. The Australian Government has indicated that it is technology neutral when it comes to hydrogen production. Australia’s Chief Scientist has argued that it would be irresponsible not to investigate alternate fuel sources for hydrogen, as multiple sources would provide valuable diversification and opportunities for scale. There is significant support for blue hydrogen amongst certain key industry players, as it allows existing producers in Australia’s well-developed oil and gas industry to leverage off their existing natural gas reserves.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on use cases in Australia.

Belgium

The potential for large-scale hydrogen production and import, transport and consumption by and for the industry is the most promising use case in Belgium.

Belgium today is already an important user of hydrogen technology, mainly in its petrochemical and chemical industries. Grey hydrogen flows through existing pipelines, which is separated during the processing of natural gas. The first pilot projects focusing on the use of hydrogen in transportation have already commenced, and there have been discussions about extending the pipeline network with hydrogen refuelling stations for hydrogen-powered vehicles.

In the medium term, despite the high potential “penetration” rate of green hydrogen for the industry,7 Belgium does not have enough surplus renewable power to produce green hydrogen on a large scale. As a result, Belgium may have to import additional renewable energy to produce green hydrogen from countries able to produce it more efficiently and cheaply.8 This is the clear direction taken also by the federal government in its recently approved hydrogen vision and strategy. Blue hydrogen could furthermore be a useful transitional technology.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on use cases in Belgium.

 


7 Rapport Vlaams potentieel groene waterstof, 4 October 2018, see https://www.energiesparen.be/sites/default/files/atoms/files/Rapport-Vlaams-potentieel-groene-waterstof.pdf, p. 6.
8 This could, for instance, come from countries with large offshore renewable power generation capacity, which may in turn provide opportunities for Belgian companies active in that sector. See also the correlation between the EU Hydrogen Strategy and (upcoming) EU Offshore Strategy.

EU

On 8 July 2020, the European Commission published its hydrogen strategy for a climate neutral Europe.9

Seeking to achieve the wide-scale deployment of clean hydrogen in Europe across different sectors is a key priority for the European Commission and one of the main deliverables of the European Green Deal to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

On the same day, the Commission launched its European Clean Hydrogen Alliance as well as its Energy System Integration Strategy10 (the latter highlighting the need for greater integration between energy systems, which currently largely operate in silos). The Energy System Integration Strategy is particularly relevant in the context of hydrogen, as the effective interaction between, for example, electricity and gas networks, will be integral to achieving a decarbonised energy system.

The Commission’s hydrogen strategy is certainly ambitious, aiming for the production of up to ten million tonnes of green hydrogen and 40GW of electrolyser capacity within Europe by 2030 (with one million tonnes of green hydrogen and 6GW of electrolyser capacity by 2024). Importantly, it recognises the need to build up a clear pipeline of viable projects and the urgency of action that is needed if the ambition is be realised.

It is clear from the Commission’s hydrogen strategy that there is a preference for renewable hydrogen (or “green hydrogen”) over low carbon hydrogen (or “blue hydrogen”). It is noteworthy that an earlier leaked draft of the Commission’s strategy made little reference to blue hydrogen production; however, the final published version does acknowledge the importance of hydrogen from fossil fuels (with carbon capture technology) in the short to medium term as a transition to large scale renewable hydrogen.

Overall, though, the clear expectation that renewables will be the predominant energy source for hydrogen production in the longer term is reflected in the forecast of €180-470bn of investment by 2050 for this production technology. By the Commission’s estimates, aggregate blue hydrogen investments will pale into relative insignificance over this timeframe, with €3-18bn of forecast investment.

The Commission considers that the two main lead markets for hydrogen end-user demand will lie in industrial applications (e.g. replacing carbon-intensive hydrogen in refineries, the production of ammonia and methanol and replacing fossil fuels in steel making) and transport (in particular for heavy duty vehicles where electrification is more difficult).

On 14 July 2021 the Commission announced its “Fit for 55” package which included a number of legislative and policy proposals to enable the EU to meet its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at 55% by 2030 in comparison with 1990 levels. Although not exclusively focussed on clean hydrogen, the Fit for 55 package contained a number of proposals that could significantly boost the development of the European Union’s clean hydrogen economy, including:

  • targeted 50% share for renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBO) in the industrial sector by 2030. Hydrogen would classify as an RFNBO;
  • targeted 2.6% share of RFNBOs in the transportation sector as part of the amended Renewable Energy Directive (RED);
  • free allowances under Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) extended to producers of renewable hydrogen;
  • member states allowed to reduce or eliminate taxes on renewable hydrogen under the Energy Taxation Directive (ETD);
  • a target of one hydrogen refuelling station available every 150 km along the TEN-T core network and 100 km along the TEN-T comprehensive network; and
  • maximum carbon intensity proposals on the shipping sector and minimum blending requirements for sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) in the aviation sector, both of which would promote the update of renewable hydrogen in the shipping and aviation sectors.

Click here for further information on the current European Commission thinking on use cases.

 


https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/hydrogen_strategy.pdf
10 https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/energy_system_integration_strategy_.pdf

France

The three use cases for hydrogen described earlier in this chapter (i.e. transportation, heat and industry) are already in the process of implementation in France. On 10 September 2020, the French Government unveiled a €7bn national strategy for carbon-free hydrogen, setting out three core objectives:

  • to install enough electrolysers to make a significant contribution to the decarbonation of the economy;
  • to develop clean mobility, particularly for heavy vehicles; and
  • to foster the development of an H2 industrial sector in France, creating jobs and guaranteeing France’s technological expertise.

In the short term, the French energy regulator (the Commission de Régulation de l’Énergie) considers that blue hydrogen could replace the use of grey hydrogen used in industry and that, in the medium term, it could be one of the vectors of decarbonisation in the heavy transport sector.

France’s ambition is to develop blue hydrogen and its industrial, energy and mobility uses, with the prospect of reaching around 20% to 40% of total hydrogen and industrial hydrogen consumption by 2030. The French State, through various channels, has already or is in the process of launching several calls for projects to achieve the objectives set out above.

In particular, France plans to establish a support framework applicable to hydrogen produced by electrolysis of water using low carbon electricity, based on specific legislation that was adopted in February 2021.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on use cases in France.

Germany

On 10 June 2020, the German Federal Government adopted the long-awaited National Hydrogen Strategy (Nationale Wasserstoffstrategie).11 The strategy broadly aims to (a) achieve the German climate targets, (b) create new value chains for the German economy by developing a domestic market for hydrogen technology, and (c) develop international energy policy co-operation to secure market opportunities for German companies in and outside Germany and secure sufficient hydrogen imports.

The National Hydrogen Strategy identifies industry, transportation and heat as potential areas for increased use of hydrogen, but foresees that the use cases do not become viable at the same time. In the short to medium term, priority will be given to areas in which the use of hydrogen is close to economic viability and in which no major downstream dependencies are created or in which no alternative decarbonisation options exist. Furthermore, although the National Hydrogen Strategy states that only green hydrogen is sustainable over time, it assumes that blue hydrogen will be a transitional technology over the next ten years.

The National Hydrogen Strategy has generally been received positively by industry. However, some industry participants have called for clearer policy proposals and greater certainty around regulatory changes required to integrate hydrogen into the energy system.12

Meanwhile, certain actions proposed in the National Hydrogen Strategy have been implemented, e.g. the reduction of surcharges on electricity used for the production of hydrogen or financial support programmes. It remains to be seen whether the new government will broaden the strategy and/or increase funding.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on use cases in Germany.

 


11 Cf. https://www.bmwi.de/Redaktion/EN/Publikationen/Energie/the-national-hydrogen-strategy.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=6.
12 See, e.g., the Association of Energy and Water Industries and the Federation of German Industries.

Italy

In December 2019, the Italian Government officially released the Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate, which sets binding targets for energy efficiency, renewable sources and reduction of CO2 emissions to be achieved by 2030 and promotes the use of green hydrogen. The main target use case for hydrogen is decarbonisation of commercial transportation. A role for hydrogen in energy storage is also contemplated: in particular, power to gas, as well as usage in existing energy network infrastructure.

In November 2020, the Minister for Economic Development published the Preliminary Guidelines on the National Hydrogen Strategy (Strategia Nazionale Idrogeno – Linee Guida Preliminari – “Hydrogen Guidelines”), whose 2030 term objective is the development of a national hydrogen ecosystem and for hydrogen to gradually become competitive in selected sectors, covering about 2% of the 2030 Italian energy demand. In the long term, up to 2050, the Hydrogen Guidelines’ goal is for hydrogen to support the effort of decarbonisation together with other low carbon emissions technologies, especially in hard-to-abate sectors (e.g., steel production, chemicals). Thus, hydrogen would be able to cover up to 20% of the 2050 Italian energy demand.

The National Recovery and Resilience Plan for Italy (“Italian Recovery Plan”) published on 26 April 2021 follows in the steps of the Hydrogen Guidelines with its second Mission, “Green Revolution and Ecological Transition”, focusing on, inter alia, renewable energy, hydrogen, and sustainable transportation with an overall budget of €23.78 bn, €3.19bn of which is allocated for promoting the production and distribution of hydrogen in order to contribute to the achievement of the decarbonisation target.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on use cases in Italy.

Japan

The government of Japan declared its commitment to reach net-zero by 2050 in October 2020 and subsequently issued its “Green Growth Strategy” on 25 December 2020 and 18 June 2021 (the “Green Growth Strategy”). The government listed each of hydrogen and fuel-use ammonia as one of the 14 priority sectors in the Green Growth Strategy, and indicated a specific numerical cost-reduction target of 30 JPY/Nm3 and 20 JPY/Nm3 by 2050, and the introduction target of up to 3 million tons per year by 2030 and up to 20 million tons per year by 2050 for hydrogen. The Green Growth Strategy identified four key use cases: (i) power generation by hydrogenfuelled turbines, (ii) stationary fuel cells (for both industrial and household use), (iii) fuel cell vehicles (including hydrogen supply stations) and (iv) steel production by hydrogen. It also features the development of hydrogen carrier vessels for transportation and the water electrolysers for hydrogen production as the supply side priority targets.

The government’s proposed energy mix in 2050 also features hydrogen and ammonia as 10% energy source, together with the renewables for 50-60% and nuclear, CCUS and/or carbon recycling for 30-40%.

To achieve the proposed targets, the government created the “Green Innovation Funds” of up to 2 trillion yen budget capacity for 10 years commissioned to New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization of Japan (NEDO). NEDO have already launched the programs for (i) the hydrogen production through water electrolysis from renewable power sources and (ii) the large scale hydrogen supply chain development (including liquefication, transportation and combustion) in August 2021, and (iii) proposals have been invited in respect of the programs for the development of fuel use ammonia and steel production by hydrogen and the submitted proposals are under the evaluation process.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on use cases in Japan.

Netherlands

On 28 June 2019, the National Climate Agreement (Klimaatakkoord) was concluded. The main purpose of this agreement is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands by 49% compared to 1990 levels. Hydrogen is expected to play an important role in the decarbonisation of the Dutch economy.

The Dutch Government has indicated that in the mid to long term, hydrogen can and must be able to carry out a number of critical functions within the energy and raw materials management system. In its Government Strategy on Hydrogen (Kabinetsvisie waterstof), the Dutch Government envisages that hydrogen will be an indispensable part of the sustainability strategy for industrial clusters and ports and the transport sector generally. Principal areas of focus include a carbon-free feedstock for the process industry and mobility, especially with regard to passenger transport for greater distances and heavy transport. Market participants are therefore preparing for a growing role for hydrogen, including through feasibility studies, the development of business cases and proposed investments.

The Dutch Government views blue hydrogen as a transitional replacement for grey hydrogen in industry and in the expansion of hydrogen infrastructure capacity. The North Sea industrial hub offers the potential for the Netherlands to develop a blue hydrogen market which would stimulate economic growth and the labour market. Green hydrogen can be further developed to be produced at scale during this transitional period.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on use cases in the Netherlands.

Poland

The Polish Hydrogen Strategy until 2030 with a perspective until 2040 was adopted by the Polish government on 2 November 2021.

The six core objectives are:

  1. Implementing hydrogen technologies in the energy and heating sectors;
  2. Using hydrogen as an alternative fuel for transport;
  3. Supporting the decarbonisation of industry;
  4. Producing hydrogen in new installations;
  5. Enabling efficient and safe transmission of hydrogen; and
  6. Creating a stable regulatory environment.

The ambition of the Polish government is to develop strong national and local competencies with regard to key components of the modern hydrogen technologies value chain. The strategy envisages that by 2030 Poland will have 2 GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity and at least five so-called hydrogen valleys.

In October 2021, representatives of the public sector, the academia and the private sector concluded an agreement to support the development of the hydrogen economy.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on use cases in Poland.

Portugal

The main “use cases” set out in the Portuguese Government’s National Strategy for Hydrogen (EN-H2) are the decarbonisation of the transport, industry and electricity sector. The Portuguese Government has declared that the main goal for the creation of a “hydrogen economy” is increasing the independence of the Portuguese energy sector by replacing imported fossil fuels with domestically produced green hydrogen.

The EN-H2 is particularly focused on the production of green hydrogen over blue hydrogen given the low production costs of solar energy and the geographical location of the country (large coastal areas).

More recently, the Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP), which provides for national implementation of the European Union’s recovery plan “NextGenerationEU” following the COVID-19 pandemic, has once again brought hydrogen to the spotlight and aims at implementing the EN-H2.

In line with the EN-H2, the RRP proposes an integration of hydrogen in all sectors of the economy, including the decarbonisation of the transport, electricity and industry sectors. In addition, the RRP highlights the potential role of hydrogen in the development of new technologies and overall technological progress, ultimately contributing to the country’s economic and employment growth.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on use cases in Portugal.

Spain

The “Hydrogen Roadmap: a commitment to renewable hydrogen”, approved by the Spanish Government in October 2020, considers that clean hydrogen shows great potential for use in industry (oil refining, fertilisers and chemicals, among others) in the short term.

Moreover, the Roadmap states that other hydrogen end-uses should be encouraged in those areas where electrification is not the most efficient solution or technically feasible in the medium term, such as public transport, urban services or intermodal transport nodes such as ports, airports or logistics platforms.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on use cases in Spain.

 

UK

In June 2019, the UK Government committed to a target of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.13 The overarching strategy for achieving this target is set out in the Clean Growth Strategy.14

The UK Government announced its much-awaited hydrogen strategy on 17 August 2021, which sets out the UK Government’s detailed plans to achieve a goal of 5GW of clean hydrogen by 2030. This will also involve kick-starting the creation of highly skilled employment in hydrogen and similar green sectors. Along with its hydrogen strategy, the UK Government launched consultations on: (i) a low carbon hydrogen business model, to be finalised in 2022; (ii) a new £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund to be launched in 2022; and (iii) a new low carbon hydrogen standard.

On 19 October 2021 the UK Government announced its Net Zero Strategy, which included the establishment of a new Industrial Decarbonisation and Hydrogen Revenue Support (IDHRS) scheme to fund new industrial carbon capture and hydrogen business models. The £140 million scheme will initially commit to providing up to £100 million to award contracts of up to 250 MW of electrolytic hydrogen production capacity in 2023 with further allocation in 2024. The IDHRS will result in up to 1.5 GW of low carbon hydrogen contracts awarded to projects.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on use cases in the UK.

 


13 Section 1 of the Climate Change Act 2008
14 The Clean Growth Strategy: Leading the way to a low carbon future, October 2017 as amended April 2018
Part 3

Hy-ly-Demanding? How to create supply and demand at the same time

Public and private stakeholders are increasingly convinced by the arguments as to “why” low carbon hydrogen has the potential to resolve some of their most fundamental challenges.

So now policymakers, often supported by the private sector, are turning their attention to the thorny “how” question. How to overcome the barriers to deployment we identified earlier in this series?

The right policy design will vary from country to country with the detail of what that country is trying to achieve and the domestic political context.

The immediate thought may be to replicate incentives and mechanisms that have, on the whole, been very successful in driving earlier phases of the energy transition, most notably the shift from thermal to renewable electricity.

However, although there is valuable experience to draw on, it is hard to escape the conclusion that previous regulatory incentives are unlikely to be easily transferable to a hydrogen context if the objective is successful deployment at scale.

In this chapter, we explore the reasons for this.

“There is no immediate prospect of markets becoming sufficiently liquid for short term or spot contracts to provide any form of mitigation that would support investment or financing.”

Read chapter 3

Part 4

Hy-achieving – creating a suitable incentive regime

In earlier chapters of this series we have seen that to identify a framework or business model for clean hydrogen, policymakers need to have a clear sense of where they are trying to get to. They need to have a hydrogen strategy.

We have also seen that they will need an incentive regime and that a successful business model may need to include a direct subsidy for hydrogen production (rather than a downstream incentive) given:

  • the need to right-size support for specific technologies, and, in the early stages, even specific projects, that meet policy objectives; and
  • the need to address legitimate concerns of investors and funders, being not just price but also the mitigation of cross-chain availability and stranding risks and the credit of downstream participants.

In this chapter we consider a structure that could be deployed in mature energy markets to achieve this and the challenges policymakers will need to contend with.

Read chapter 4

Australia    Belgium  •  The EU  •  France  •  Germany  •  Italy  •  Japan  •  The Netherlands  •  Poland  •  Portugal  •  Spain    The UK

Australia

The Federal Government has developed, and consulted with industry in respect of, a proposed approach to the development of a ‘Guarantee of Origin’ scheme for hydrogen. This scheme would implement a standardised process of tracing and certifying where and how hydrogen is made and associated environmental impacts.

Currently, the main method of incentivising the use case is government funded financial support provided directly to project developers, although in April 2021, the Federal Government announced that the 2021-22 budget would include funding to accelerate the development of clean hydrogen hubs in regional Australia. Accordingly, it is the taxpayer who pays for the chosen method of incentivising the use case. Whether this is the incentive model that continues to prevail as hydrogen gains traction and becomes more established in Australia remains to be seen.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on incentives in Australia.

Belgium

The different Belgian governments have yet to make the necessary policy decisions on the mechanisms to incentivise clean hydrogen. Via the Energy Transition Fund and the National Recovery Plan (allocating the European COVID-19 recovery funds for Belgium), around EUR 90 million has been committed already to R&I around hydrogen and supporting pilot projects. A key question in the Belgian context is the treatment of hydrogen transportation networks. In its proposed hydrogen vision and strategy, which was approved very recently on 29 October 2021, the federal government envisages the construction of a first part, consisting of 100 to 160 km of pipelines, of a future hydrogen backbone connecting the port industry clusters, already by 2026. There is emerging enthusiasm among industry players for a regulated asset base model, pursuant to which the regulated network operators are tasked with adapting their existing network and/or developing a new (dedicated) network, which will guarantee market participants open access to the (existing and future) infrastructure for the benefit of their own core businesses. If this route is taken, ultimately (both natural gas and hydrogen) consumers will bear the costs through transport and distribution tariffs.

For the energy sector, it seems likely that there will be considerable support for measures to promote the development of combined heat and power (cogeneration) applications. These can be incentivised through demand-side mechanisms, such as the already existing CHP certificates scheme in Flanders, as well as supply-side mechanisms, such as the capacity remuneration mechanism in Belgium, which takes the form of a reliability-options scheme (comparable to contracts for difference) and is intended to be technology neutral.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on incentives in Belgium.

EU

The European Commission’s hydrogen strategy recognises that a supportive policy framework is needed to stimulate in parallel the production, supply, demand and associated infrastructure for hydrogen; in other words, a “full value chain approach”.

The hydrogen strategy gives little detail on the support schemes which may be made available, but suggests that such schemes could include:

  • Minimum shares or quotas of renewable hydrogen in specific end-use sectors (e.g. certain industries, such as the chemical sector or transportation). This would allow demand to be stimulated in a targeted way.
  • Amendments or expansion of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (“ETS”) to incentivise hydrogen production and use as well as a common low carbon threshold or standard for the promotion of hydrogen production installations based on their full life-cycle greenhouse gas performance which could be defined relative to the existing ETS benchmark.
  • Other direct support schemes, such as a carbon contracts for difference (“CCfD”), which would pay an investor the difference between the CO2 strike price and the actual CO2 price in the ETS. The current ETS price is approximately €25 per tonne of CO2 and the strategy notes that a carbon price of €55-90 per tonne would be needed to make blue hydrogen competitive with grey hydrogen today. Such CCfDs or other direct support could be made available through a competitive tendering process. The details of such a regime are not provided in the Commission’s strategy. It is also unclear how a CCfD regime would work alongside the ETS regime and whether industries that currently benefit from free ETS allowances would also be eligible for a CCfD. The overall cost of providing support for a CCfD is also not indicated in the strategy. However, it is envisaged that a CCfD regime could provide price support for the early deployment of blue hydrogen, until the costs of green hydrogen fall, or carbon prices become sufficiently high so as to make other carbon-emitting fuels uneconomic. What is less clear is whether CCfD could or would enable non-price support (for example, in order to help mitigate cross-chain risks).

In its hydrogen strategy, the Commission also underlines it will support investments in hydrogen, through the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, the Next Generation EU recovery plan but also via the European Regional Development Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the Just Transition Mechanism.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on incentives in the EU.

France

PART 4 Hydrogen is an R&D priority in France’s 2018 multiannual energy programme (programmation pluriannuelle de l’énergie or “PPE”), the country’s energy roadmap for the coming decade. Measures for promoting hydrogen in the PPE include direct government funding for pilot projects and the mobilisation of public and private finance and standardised co-financing models for projects.

The French hydrogen strategy has been allocated €7.2 billion for the period up to 2030. The Government intends to encourage the development of a clean hydrogen sector through financial support for individual projects and investment in research and development. The French State, through various channels, has already or is in the process of launching several calls for projects to achieve these objectives.

The French State has adopted legislation covering decarbonised which, inter alia, (a) defines hydrogen types according to their mode of production (renewable or low-carbon), (b) organises a mechanism of guarantees of traceability or origin to attest to the type of hydrogen produced (similar to the guarantees of origin mechanism for renewable energy) and (c) provides for a State support mechanism, for the production of renewable or low-carbon hydrogen.

The support mechanism will require state aid clearance from the European Commission, although some call for projects have already been launched based on the block exemption regulation.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on incentives in France.

Germany

Germany’s National Hydrogen Strategy contemplates considerable financial support for the rollout of a hydrogen economy over the next few years. The market rollout and the foundations for a functioning domestic market for hydrogen are to be achieved by the following:

  • Measures to incentivise the production of clean hydrogen, such as exemptions from taxes for electricity required to produce green hydrogen (which have been implemented in the regulatory framework in the meantime) and the support of green hydrogen through tendering models.
  • Measures to incentivise the consumption of clean hydrogen, such as imposing more stringent low carbon quotas on the transport sector and investment support programmes for industry for the conversion to green hydrogen.
  • A Carbon Contract for Difference (“CfD”) (including state support in the amount of the cost difference between (a) the actual cost of avoiding emissions by using decarbonisation technologies, expressed as a contractually agreed CO2 price per avoided amount of greenhouse gas emissions and (b) prices according to the emissions trading system) for industrial users of green hydrogen. Through the H2Global Foundation, which is backed by market participants, currently a CfD model is being developed.

The Government considers that, in principle, hydrogen and the electricity required for hydrogen production should be financed by the sector that consumes the hydrogen. The economic viability of hydrogen can, however, be improved by support measures.23

Click here for further information on the current thinking on incentives in Germany.

 


23 Government’s reply to question by members of parliament, parliament printed matter no. 19/20916, 8 July 2020.

Italy

The Italian Government has not adopted a dedicated hydrogen development strategy plan. However, hydrogen plays a key role in the Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate approved in December 2019, in order to reach the targets of energy efficiency and reduction of CO2 emissions to be achieved by 2030. Hydrogen is considered essential to contribute to decarbonisation of the commercial transportation and a fundamental element for power storage and production (particularly power to gas). Italy also joined the Renewable and Clean Hydrogen Innovation Challenge within the “Mission Innovation” project, a global initiative of 24 countries and the European Union, aimed to increase private and public investments in clean energy and international collaboration to accelerate global clean energy innovation and the development of a global hydrogen market. The members of “Mission Innovation” have committed to seek to double public investment in clean energy R&D and are engaging with the private sector.

  • In December 2019 a parliamentary proposal was put forward to incentivise the use of hydrogen in Italy. The proposal seeks to foster the production of green hydrogen. In order to do so, some incentives have been recognised, such as:
  • investments in demonstration projects amounting to €10bn;
  • the introduction of a carbon tax (€56 per each ton of CO2 emission in 2020 and €100 per ton emissions in 2030);
  • exemption from taxes and charges for the system and distribution of hydrogen production plants; and
  • incentives for the progressive replacement of combustion vehicles with electric vehicles.

The proposal is currently pending in Parliament.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on incentives in Italy.

Japan

In Japan, funding and financing support for clean hydrogen projects are available from key government organisations and it is anticipated that financing support from Japan Bank for International Cooperation (“JBIC”), Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (“NEXI”) as well as JOGMEC would be available to support commercial scale hydrogen projects where the projects have significant Japanese participation, including as sponsors, contractors or off-takers.

In addition to the initiatives taken by the governmental organisations, financial support has been made available by the Japanese Government to the consumers to incentivise the purchase of fuel cell vehicles.

In addition, as a part of Green Growth Strategy, JBIC created the “Post-corona Growth Facility” of up to 1.5 trillion yen. NEXI also announced on 4 October 2021 its new approach for risk assessment under which transactions promoting environmental protection and climate change initiatives may be assessed with a higher credit rating and lower insurance premium. The government is also offering tax benefits for introduction of certain facilities contributing to decarbonisation.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on incentives in Japan.

Netherlands

A substantial hydrogen programme for the Netherlands is to be initiated under the Dutch Climate Agreement. The programme will chiefly focus on unlocking the supply of green hydrogen, the development of the necessary infrastructure and the facilitation of initiatives and projects. The programme does not focus on the development of demand for hydrogen directly – that responsibility is more closely related to the various proposals being developed by the relevant sectors, in particular (a) built environment, (b) mobility, (c) industry and (d) electricity. The work plan for this National Hydrogen Programme (Nationaal Waterstof Programma) was published on 7 July 2021. This work plan prioritises and includes a time path for actions to be taken in the period 2022-2025 and a look through to 2030. Three (3) key focus tracks are identified: (i) upscaling offshore production of green hydrogen for the benefit of the Dutch harbour areas, industrial clusters and heavy transport; (ii) development of decentralised hydrogen opportunities; and (iii) conditions indispensable to realise the current hydrogen ambitions. The work plan will be transformed into a hydrogen route map by the end of 2021.

Since autumn 2020 the Stimulation of Sustainable Energy Transition (the “SDE++”) scheme entered into force. Effectively, this subsidy scheme broadens the former SDE+ regime to ensure that, in addition to renewable energy, other CO2 reduction technologies will also become eligible for subsidies. Hydrogen projects by means of electrolysis are eligible for SDE++ subsidies in autumn 2021 provided certain conditions are met. Subsidies will be provided up to 2.940 full load hours in 2021 up to 5,000 full load hours as from 2026.

With effect from 1 January 2021, and as part of the Dutch Climate Agreement the Dutch Government pushes major industrial polluters to decarbonize their production processes. In this context, the Dutch Government introduced a top-up CO2 levy (CO2-heffing) for industrial companies in the Netherlands. The CO2 tax levy rate will be EUR 30 per tonne of CO2 equivalent from 1 January 2021. This rate will increase linearly by EUR 10.56 a year until 2030, so it will be EUR 125 per tonne of CO2 in 2030. In addition, a legislative proposal for the introduction of a minimum carbon price for the production of electricity (Wet minimum CO2-prijs elektriciteitsopwekking) is currently pending with Dutch parliament. in order to provide a further incentive to reduce CO2 emissions resulting from electricity generation.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on incentives in the Netherlands.

Poland

The regulatory framework for hydrogen in Poland is in the early stages of development, and the incentive scheme for development of hydrogen-based technologies has not been adopted yet.

The Polish government estimates that in the 2030 perspective, the required capital expenditures will amount to approximately PLN 14.8 billion (approx. €3.2 billion), but also notes that hydrogen-based projects will have to compete for financing with IT and chemistry programmes. Detailed plans for funding programmes focused on hydrogen projects will be announced in the coming weeks (as part of the hydrogen strategy which has just been adopted). Despite strong governmental support, there is still plenty of room for outside funding of hydrogen-based projects in Poland.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on incentives in Poland.

Portugal

In the EN-H2, the Portuguese Government has focussed on public and private European and National financing sources as the route to incentivising clean hydrogen. The EN-H2 also highlights other support mechanisms that will promote the development of a hydrogen economy and which may be implemented in the future, including exemptions for hydrogen producers from grid use tariffs, subsidies for hydrogen producers for the “overcost” of producing hydrogen and guarantees of origin.

Some of these support mechanisms have already received formal policy endorsement, including the amendment of the guarantees of origin legal framework to include “low carbon gases and for gases of renewable origin” which would include clean hydrogen.

In the context of the PRR, the choices and proposed allocation of funds from the Recovery and Resilience Facility are designed in line with the Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2021 (COM/2020/575 final of 17 September). In this respect, this means “accelerating emission reductions through the rapid deployment of renewables and hydrogen” and giving “priority to the most advanced and innovative projects to accelerate deployment of renewable energy”.

The PRR thus proposes investing:

  • €185m in the production of renewable gases, technologies that have been tested and are not yet sufficiently spread in the national territory — for self-consumption and/or injection in the natural gas distribution grid — maximum €15m per project;
  • €2m in the installation of 2 pilot areas of local production and hydrogen charging in the Businesses Location Areas (Áreas de Acolhimento Empresarial) for heavy vehicles fleets (passengers, waste, logistics, etc.).

On 28 September 2021, the Portuguese government launched the first call for tender worth €62m under the program “Support for the production of renewable hydrogen and other renewable gases”. This call aims at subsidising the production of the first 88 MW of hydrogen production capacity.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on incentives in Portugal.

Spain

The Spanish Hydrogen Roadmap sets out a strategy to boost hydrogen in Spain through a new regulatory framework for clean hydrogen including financial measures to support the use of clean hydrogen in Spanish industry (e.g. specific loans related to hydrogen production projects). However, the details of this regulatory framework have not yet been specified. The Hydrogen Roadmap also seeks to promote hydrogen-based transport and the creation of “hydrogen clusters”. Other than the MOVES III Plan (which provides incentives to buy electric/hydrogen cars) the abovementioned measures have not yet been formally approved.

Further funds from the European Union are expected to be received for clean hydrogen projects and will be used as a key lever to ensure a level playing field at the EU level (such as the specific funds to be received by each Member State in relation to the recovery plan as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic). The Roadmap contemplates that tax incentives will be approved to incentivise clean hydrogen.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on incentives in Spain.

UK

Unlike the EU, the 2021 UK hydrogen strategy adopts the “twin-track approach” of catering for both blue and green hydrogen, with the government committed to supporting early stage and cost-effective blue hydrogen projects whilst the costs of green hydrogen are decreasing.

As expected, the UK Government has proposed a contractual support model to incentivise hydrogen production, borrowing heavily from the UK’s CfD regime for renewables. By utilising a contractual support mechanism similar to the CfD regime for renewables, the UK Government hopes that it will see a clean hydrogen revolution, akin to the success and rapid expansion of renewable power generation in the UK. Under this model, the UK Government has sought to mitigate two key risks: (i) market price risk (the risk that production costs are high compared to the market price achieved); and (ii) volume risk (the risk that producers cannot sell enough hydrogen to cover their costs).

The UK Government is considering whether the proposed business model will be allocated bilaterally or through an auction process (similar to the CfD regime for renewables). Initially, contracts are likely to be awarded on a bilateral basis, with a competitive auction in place in the medium-term.

The UK Government is also considering a range of policies to create a demand for hydrogen production, such as carbon pricing, creation of a low carbon hydrogen standard and sector-specific policies such as the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) in transport. The UK Government will publish a Hydrogen Sector Development Action plan in early 2022.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on incentives in the UK.

Part 5

Hy-ly Volatile? making it safe, sustainable and transportable

In previous chapters, we have considered the framework or business models which governments may implement in order to develop a clean hydrogen market and incentivise production at scale. However, it is essential that, in tandem with the development of broad policies to incentivise the use cases, governments implement the regulatory changes which are needed to enable and realise these use cases. A cohesive hydrogen strategy must include consideration of the extent to which existing regulation of the infrastructure needed to develop the hydrogen market is fit for purpose and sufficient to support the government’s policy aims.

In this chapter we will consider the extent to which suitable regulatory regimes are ready in each country to receive hydrogen for the use cases identified in earlier chapters.

Read chapter 5

Australia    Belgium  •  The EU  •  France  •  Germany  •  Italy  •  Japan  •  The Netherlands  •  Poland  •  Portugal  •  Spain    The UK

Australia

The current regulatory landscape does not explicitly accommodate the creation of a hydrogen market in Australia. While some existing legislative frameworks are likely to apply to the hydrogen industry, it is probable that further regulatory reform will be required to specifically target the needs of large-scale hydrogen production.

A report commissioned by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science identified 730 pieces of legislation and regulations, and a further 119 standards, that may be relevant to the development of an Australian hydrogen industry. These pieces of legislation principally relate to aspects addressing the safety, development and upscaling, environmental impacts and infrastructure needs (including transport and pipelines) of the hydrogen industry. A separate review would need to be undertaken to consider whether changes would be required to address hydrogen production, transport to market, use as fuel, use in gas networks, safety, project approvals, environmental protection and economic effects on industry. The Federal Government included $2.4m in the 2021-22 budget to support hydrogen related legal reforms.

A further regulatory challenge facing the hydrogen industry is the inconsistent application of different policies and priorities across the states. In order to achieve relative uniformity among jurisdictions, the various state and territory governments have committed to developing a nationally consistent approach to regulatory models applicable to the hydrogen industry. To this end, the Australian Government will drive the national regulatory reform by applying a “smart, consistent, light-touch” approach. In July 2020, through Standards Australia, the Australian Government adopted eight international standards relating to hydrogen quality, storage, transportation and usage. Several state and territory governments have also established cross-government agency working groups to develop competency in, and awareness of, hydrogen across government, including identifying and addressing regulatory gaps and providing advice on compliance with existing requirements.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on regulations in Australia.

Belgium

The regulatory context in Belgium is layered given its federalist structure. The transport of gaseous products (including the construction and operation of pipelines) falls under federal competence, while the construction, production and/or operation of hydrogen facilities (ranging from building hydrogen refuelling stations to the production of green hydrogen) are a regional competence and requirements therefore differ between the three Belgian regions. As a consequence, different public authorities and government entities, regulators and regulated operators have a role to play, applying different rule sets. This, of course, creates a high risk of gaps and inconsistencies in both policymaking and its application around hydrogen.

Following the European Directive 2014/94/EU, Belgium has set up a National Policy Framework “Alternative fuels infrastructure” in which the policies and ambitions of the different government levels are brought together. On 7 December 2020, a bottom-up hydrogen strategy for the Flemish Region was published by the H2 Industry Cluster, a sector organisation. On 29 October 2021, the federal government approved its own hydrogen vision and strategy, which will be further discussed and finetuned together with the Regions. In the beginning of 2022, the federal Energy Minister intends to present her vision around a regulatory and market framework for hydrogen transport networks. That said, progress towards a uniform and clear regulatory framework throughout Belgium relating to alternative fuels, including hydrogen, remains slow and complex.

The changes required to the regulated framework to further the hydrogen use case in Belgium can be summarised as follows:

  • a more uniform set of (regional) legislation, regulations and permitting trajectories for hydrogen infrastructure projects, especially those spanning the territory of multiple regions. This could entail distinguishing between different types of hydrogen production (grey/blue/green) and between normal and fasttracked or accelerated procedures for certain pilot projects or test installations, such as mobile hydrogen fuelling stations;
  • the development of additional legislation in relation to the use of natural gas pipelines for the transport (and possibly distribution) of hydrogen (H2 blending). This should include defining clear H2 blending limits and appropriate technical (i.e. measuring and detection), safety and quality requirements (as the case may be, in the form of a separate grid code for mixed networks);
  • the development of a proper regulatory framework and role division for the development of dedicated hydrogen networks, taking into account EU law developments;
  • the development of specific rules for the type or design approval of hydrogen fuel cells vessels for the use of hydrogen in the maritime and inland navigation sectors; and
  • the development of a tailored set of rules and guidance on health and safety in relation to hydrogen.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on regulations in Belgium.

EU

The EU Hydrogen Strategy acknowledges that regulatory reform will need to be implemented to encourage the development of a hydrogen market across the whole value chain.

Currently, one of the main pieces of EU legislation relevant to clean hydrogen is the recast Renewable Energy Directive which requires Guarantees of Origin schemes (providing proof of “clean” production which can be traded separately from the physical commodity to which they relate) to be established by member states by 2021 for renewable gases, including green hydrogen.

However, as acknowledged by the Hydrogen Strategy, common low-carbon thresholds or standards for the promotion of hydrogen production installation based on their greenhouse gas performance remain to be developed. The Commission also notes that comprehensive terminology and EU-wide criteria for certification of green and blue hydrogen will be required. The private CertifHy scheme has sought to create a Guarantees of Origin scheme that is capable of running on an EU-wide basis, with a view to – as CertifHy itself puts it – avoiding “bottom-up developments of inconsistent national GO schemes that can hamper establishing an effective European market for Green and Low-carbon Hydrogen (as is currently the case for biomethane/biogas)”.

The Hydrogen Strategy also refers to the need for regulatory and financial support for networks that would benefit clean hydrogen. This may include a revision of the Trans-European Networks for Energy Regulation, which provides a framework for the selection of electricity, gas and CO2 infrastructure projects of common interest (“PCIs”) that can benefit from financial support through public funds, a review of the internal gas market legislation for competitive decarbonised gas markets and of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive.

The Hydrogen Strategy suggests that, for early phase projects, existing rules for closed distribution systems or direct lines may be relevant – in other words, some of the regulatory requirements on unbundling (which would restrict investors in hydrogen projects participating in multiple parts of the value chain) and third party access, could be disapplied to allow initial projects to be developed. However, the strategy does acknowledge that third party access rules will need to be developed in time to ensure hydrogen infrastructure is accessible on a non-discriminatory basis (though it does not explore whether or how developers can be incentivised to develop projects that design-in redundant capacity so as to avoid future inefficiencies from unnecessary duplication of infrastructure). The Hydrogen Strategy does not address the longer-term view on the application of unbundling rules to hydrogen projects.

The Commission notes that a regulatory framework for a liquid hydrogen market will be needed. This includes the possibility of blending hydrogen into the existing gas network, though the Hydrogen Strategy notes that blending is less efficient and diminishes the value of hydrogen. This will therefore require some controls on the technical requirements and gas quality standards to ensure that different Member States do not accept different levels of blending, thereby hindering cross-border flows. A review of the internal gas market legislation for competitive decarbonised gas markets will be needed, to ensure interoperability of markets for pure hydrogen, common quality standards or cross-border operational rules. However, there is currently little clarity on what this may entail. Some guidance on the future regulation of hydrogen transport may come from the European Commission’s legislative proposal for an amendment of the EU gas legislation due to be announced in December 2021.

On 14 July 2021 the Commission announced its “Fit for 55” package which included a number of legislative and policy proposals to enable the EU to meet its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at 55% by 2030 in comparison with 1990 levels. Although not exclusively focussed on clean hydrogen, the Fit for 55 package contained a number of proposals that could significantly boost the development of the European Union’s clean hydrogen economy, including:

  • targeted 50% share for renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBO) in the industrial sector by 2030. Hydrogen would classify as an RFNBO;
  • targeted 2.6% share of RFNBOs in the transportation sector as part of the amended Renewable Energy Directive (RED);
  • free allowances under Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) extended to producers of renewable hydrogen;
  • member states allowed to reduce or eliminate taxes on renewable hydrogen under the Energy Taxation Directive (ETD);
  • a target of one hydrogen refuelling station available every 150 km along the TEN-T core network and 100 km along the TEN-T comprehensive network; and
  • maximum carbon intensity proposals on the shipping sector and minimum blending requirements for sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) in the aviation sector, both of which would promote the update of renewable hydrogen in the shipping and aviation sectors.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on regulations in the EU.

France

On 17 February 2021, France adopted an ordinance in order:

  • to define the terminology of the different types of hydrogen according to the energy source used for its production (renewable, low-carbon or carbonised hydrogen);
  • to allow the production, transport, storage and traceability of renewable or low-carbon hydrogen; and
  • to define a support framework applicable to hydrogen produced from renewable energy or by electrolysis of water using low carbon electricity.

The specifics of the traceability mechanism and support framework are to be set out in an upcoming decree (for which no timeline has been provided yet).

Hydrogen refuelling points qualify as classified facilities for the protection of the environment, which results in a specific regulatory treatment for these facilities.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on regulations in France.

Germany

Grid regulation

On 27 July 2021, new legislation for a transitional regulation of hydrogen networks entered into force that has been introduced into the German Energy Industry Act (Energiewirtschaftsgesetz– “EnWG”). The key features of the new legislation are:

  • The government has chosen a gradual introduction of regulation of hydrogen networks. As an initial step, network operators can opt to become subject to regulation for their entire network if the German regulator BNetzA has confirmed an adequate need for its hydrogen infrastructure.
  • The cost for new hydrogen infrastructure will not be socialised through uniform grid fees for gas and hydrogen customers, potentially resulting in a need for public funding to avoid grid fees for hydrogen becoming disproportionately high at least initially.
  • If an operator opts into regulation, certain obligations will apply, such grid connection and grid access.
  • Operators of hydrogen networks may not own electrolysers or storage facilities (unbundling).
  • Network tariffs have to be non-discriminatory and cost-based (planned vs. actual cost) but are not subject to approval by BNetzA.
  • Permits and easements for gas networks that are converted for the transportation of hydrogen are grandfathered.

Hydrogen production – electricity surcharge reduction/exemption

A significant cost factor for the production of hydrogen is the electricity price of which in Germany surcharges on electricity form a considerable part. Among them is the renewable energies surcharge payable for each kWh consumed to finance the subsidies to operators of renewable energy installations (in 2021, 6.5 ct/kWh; “EEG Surcharge”). In order to promote the phase-in of hydrogen production, the German Renewable Energies Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz – “EEG”) was recently amended to allow for the reduction of and exemption from the EEG Surcharge respectively:

  • The EEG Surcharge payable on electricity needed for the production of any type of hydrogen (green or otherwise) will be reduced to, in general, 15% of the normally payable EEG Surcharge for electricity-intensive undertakings producing hydrogen (i) where such production is the largest contributor to that undertaking’s overall value added (gesamte Wertschöfpung) and (ii) if an energy and environmental management system is in place or, if it has consumed less than 5 GWh of electricity in the last business year, an alternative system for improving energy efficiency.
  • Furthermore, from 1 January 2022 onwards the EEG Surcharge will be reduced to zero for electricity consumed for the production of green hydrogen only in a facility connected to the grid via own metering point. The exemption is available only for those facilities commissioned before 1 January 2030. The criteria for green hydrogen are laid down in an ordinance (still subject to state aid clearance). They are met if the hydrogen (i) has been electrochemically produced within the first 5,000 full load hours of a calendar year, (ii) using exclusively electricity from renewable energy sources located predominantly in Germany and not part of the support scheme under the EEG.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on regulations in Germany.

Italy

Currently Italy has not adopted comprehensive and harmonised legislation regulating the production, transport and use of hydrogen. In essence, hydrogen is still considered from a regulatory perspective as an industrial gas.

Injection of hydrogen into the gas grid is not generally permitted in Italy, though there is a specific pilot project currently underway to explore this possibility. Until recently, hydrogen production and handling for transportation purposes was regulated primarily by the Ministerial Decree of 31 August 2006, which posed extremely stringent safety measures on any plants for the storage of hydrogen. These measures were relaxed somewhat by a Ministerial Decree of 23 October 2018, which lowered the significant barriers to hydrogen transportation infrastructure deployment raised by the earlier Decree.

The installation of hydrogen fuel cells and refuelling stations is now experiencing significant growth, aided by the implementation of Legislative Decree no. 257/2016 which resulted in a significant simplification of the relevant authorisation procedures for refuelling stations and, ultimately, enabled vehicles using hydrogen fuel cells to be registered and sold into the Italian market.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on regulations in Italy.

Japan

Liquefied or high-pressured hydrogen is regulated in a similar manner as LNG under the High Pressure Gas Safety Act and other regulations. General health and safety regulations under the Industrial Safety and Health Act apply to the industrial use of hydrogen.

The Japanese Government has been working on deregulating the hydrogen supply chain with a focus on the FCV industry, and there have been a number of improvements in the relevant statutes. The recent progress includes the disapplication of the regulations under the High Pressure Gas Safety Act where the safety of vehicles is secured by the regulations under the Road Transport Vehicle Act.

Distribution through existing gas pipelines is available in limited volumes. There are a limited number of short-distance inter-site pipelines that are dedicated to transportation of hydrogen.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on regulations in Japan.

Netherlands

Currently, there is no specific regulatory regime applicable to hydrogen in the Netherlands. Not surprisingly, the Dutch Government has designated the development of a legal and regulatory framework for hydrogen as a cornerstone for hydrogen development in the Netherlands.

The legal and regulatory framework regarding hydrogen will comprise the following matters which are currently being developed and worked on:

  • further to the HyWay27 report the Dutch Government intends to use part of the existing Dutch gas grid for the transport and distribution of hydrogen. A plan for the phased roll out of a nationwide hydrogen distribution network will be prepared and Gasunie will facilitate the infrastructure development;
  • a further examination of the regulation of the future hydrogen market;
  • a reliable system of Guarantees of Origin and certification.

In this context the Dutch Government investigates the setup of a national pilot for certification of hydrogen to create a first mover advantage (and against slow development at European level); and

  • further research and monitoring to better understand the scope and effective control of risks involved in hydrogen applications.

The Dutch Government considers it crucial that the relevant laws and regulations are to be implemented as soon as possible in order to be able to successfully kick start a hydrogen economy.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on regulations in the Netherlands.

 


11 Government Strategy on Hydrogen (Kabinetvisie waterstof), page 5 and 6.

Poland

The regulatory framework for hydrogen-based technologies is in the early stages of development, although a whole legislative hydrogen package is planned for 2022.

At the moment, Polish energy law does not mention hydrogen as a type of fuel. In addition, no technical and safety conditions relevant to the production and transmission have been established. Detailed assumptions of the hydrogen support system are unknown, and hydrogen certification procedures and authorities are still not in place. However, the government is currently working on all these areas and we can expect more precise information in the coming months.

The Polish government is currently proceeding with a bill to amend Poland’s Fuel Act to include hydrogen as a vehicle fuel. The bill was generally well received by the industry and is expected to be adopted later this year.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on regulations in Poland.

Portugal

The existing Portuguese legislation and energy sector-related regulation (issued by the energy sector national regulator ERSE, Entidade Reguladora dos Serviços Energéticos) has been recently amended to include possible injection of hydrogen in the natural gas distribution grid (Decree-Law 62/2020, dated 28 August).

Further to this amendment, ERSE approved a series of new regulations to complete the adaptation of the legal framework to the production and injection of hydrogen into the grid.

This legislative development will represent a further development in the main goal of achieving a carbon neutral economy by 2050.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on regulations in Portugal.

Spain

Hydrogen production is regulated as an industrial activity, and is not otherwise specifically regulated in Spain. Specific permits are required before building and operating facilities for the production, storage and transportation of manufactured fuel gases (ranging from sectorial licenses, to planning, environmental and other permitting requirements).

The Spanish Government has identified the need for regulatory changes to allow the expected development of clean hydrogen in the coming years. These changes are aimed at simplifying permitting processes and include changes in planning regulations, the creation of a system of guarantees of origin and instruments to allow the blending of hydrogen into the existing natural gas network.

In relation to the creation of a system of guarantees of origin, the Spanish Government is drafting a Royal Decree that once approved will determine the creation of a “Guarantee of Origin System” applicable to renewable hydrogen, biogas and any other gas of renewable origin that may be determined, as well as the definition of these guarantees, their content, the issuing conditions, and the authorisation for the designation of a responsible party for their management and the procedure for the operation of the aforementioned system.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on regulations in Spain.

UK

The production, transport and use of hydrogen currently attracts regulatory treatment as a hazardous material in the UK. This should therefore be considered in the planning and consenting process for any clean hydrogen project.

Regulatory changes may be required to enable the blending of hydrogen into the existing natural gas network in the UK. It also seems likely that various contractual arrangements in the industry in relation to supply and billing will need to be amended, including potentially the charging methodologies that apply under the gas licences. Injecting gas with a higher hydrogen composition into the gas-grid may require end-user gas equipment to be adapted or replaced.

Click here for further information on the current thinking on regulations in the UK.

Getting Hy?

Ambition and the art of the possible in the search for a hydrogen economy

 

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A Net Zero System

Commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 will only be achieved with significant new investment and a rapid change in the sourcing of some of our most fundamental commodities, energy and water. The technological revolution combined with ESG pressure is propelling the global economy towards the energy transition, decarbonisation and adaptation. The response to the climate emergency will be one of the most transformative business drivers of the next few decades; we set out the infrastructure that we see as having the biggest impact, together with how we are helping clients navigate these changing markets.

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