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The European gas infrastructure can help deliver the EU Hydrogen and Energy System Integration Strategies  

8 July 2020

Today, the European Commission has released its two eagerly awaited strategies on Hydrogen and Energy System Integration. GIE applauds and supports these efforts which, combined with the assets of the existing European gas infrastructure, set the European Union on track in strengthening its industrial leadership whilst reaching its 2050 climate neutrality target.

“Using the existing European gas infrastructure to transport hydrogen will enhance the decarbonisation of the so-called “hard-to-abate” sectors (buildings, heavy-duty transport, aviation, shipping, or industrial processes). It will additionally allow the establishment of a more integrated energy system that will welcome an increasing share of renewables and will offer the most cost-effective and sustainable solution to EU citizens, contributing to economic and social recovery.” said Boyana Achovski, Secretary General of Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE).

As highlighted by Kadri Simson, EU Commissioner for EnergyEurope’s extensive gas infrastructure can be retrofitted and future-proofed to one-day transport hydrogen across the EU” (Financial Times). It also offers a unique opportunity to maintain and expend Europe’s technological leadership while generating employment.

As a result of its ability to integrate varying geographies and scales across the EU, gas transmission network can be fit for transporting large volumes of hydrogen with relatively minor investments. Gas storages can provide large seasonal storage for hydrogen. Some retrofitting will allow salt caverns to welcome pure hydrogen whereas current assessments on depleted gas fields also show great potential. Providing flexibility tools, they can store sustainable and fluctuating energy on a large scale and at low cost, thereby ensuring the security of supply and securing a cost-efficient integration of renewable energy sources. LNG terminals are well-positioned to develop new services contributing to energy transition. EU’s Ports could be transformed into centers for offshore electricity, enabling the global trade of renewable hydrogen or synthetic fuels and LNG terminals could become the entry door for liquid hydrogen.

To accomplish the ambitions of the EU Green Deal, the Hydrogen Strategy will define an investments agenda for the EU while boosting the demand for scaling up production of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen. This will be achieved by removing potential regulatory obstacles to innovative technologies and by establishing a supportive framework, designed to enable market rules enhancing the deployment of the hydrogen market. To stimulate an efficient hydrogen infrastructure development (ex via repurposing), ensuring the integrity of the internal market through the upcoming legislative reviews will be essential, as well as, securing the full integration and interoperability of hydrogen infrastructure, including the trans-European Networks for Energy and the Ten-Year Network Development Plan (TYNDPs).

Another pivotal requirement is the necessity of promoting research and innovation in renewable and low-carbon hydrogen technologies and accelerating investment. In this regard, GIE is proud to present you today how the European gas infrastructure can help deliver the EU Hydrogen Strategy via a leaflet gathering some of the innovative hydrogen-related projects that would greatly benefit from appropriate regulatory measures to ensure the creation of a competitive market. You will learn how GIE members are currently steering the expansion of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen value chains across the EU.

To properly harness the opportunities associated with hydrogen economy while paving the way towards carbon neutrality, GIE calls for a comprehensive and open-minded approach:

1  

A common terminology via clear, accurate and science-based definition of renewable and low-carbon gases, including clean hydrogen.

2  

A set of national binding consumption targets for renewable and low-carbon gases, including hydrogen, by considering technological developments and decarbonization pathways of individual Member States.

3  

An EU-wide credible documentation of the green value of renewable and low-carbon gases, including hydrogen, such as Guarantees of origin (GOs), with a technology-neutral approach and compatible with the EU ETS.

4  

The adjustment of levies, grid charges and taxes to reflect societal benefits provided by the gas infrastructure and the avoidance of double charging.

5  

The amendments of relevant EU legislation (e.g. TEN-E regulation) to enable network owners to operate several categories of gases (including hydrogen) and providing them with incentives to adapt their infrastructures to cope with the coexistence of different gases.

6  

The alignment of the EU Hydrogen Strategy with upcoming policy measures, particularly the Strategy for Energy System Integration and the Sustainable Finance and Taxonomy, to ensure a fully integrated market in view of the development of renewable and low-carbon gases, including hydrogen.

7  

The upcoming Offshore Wind Strategy as an opportunity to rework how overall system efficiency gains can be achieved by looking at the optimal way to bring hydrogen from supply source to demand area (i.e. offshore conversion). Those are issues we need to address to allow the whole infrastructure to play its role.

8  

A Roadmap for hydrogen gas assets readiness developed by/in close cooperation with the gas infrastructure and electricity sector.

9  

A robust regulatory framework that will allow research, development and pilot projects by infrastructure operators on renewable and low-carbon gases, including the injection of pure, blended H2, synthetic methane and other renewable and low-carbon gases into gas infrastructures and end-use applications.

10  

Transparent and uniform criteria for better comparability of objective life cycle assessments (GHG total carbon footprint) to assess policy measure and technologies.

Note to editors

Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) is the association representing the interests of European gas infrastructure operators active in gas transmission, gas storage and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) regasification. GIE is a trusted partner of European institutions, regulatory bodies and industry stakeholders. It is based in Brussels, the heart of European policymaking. GIE currently represents 70 member companies from 26 countries. GIE’s vision is that by 2050, the gas infrastructure will be the backbone of the new innovative energy system, allowing European citizens to benefit from a secure, efficient and sustainable energy supply.

Contact

Should you require any further information please contact:

Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE)
GIE Secretariat
T: +32 2 209 05 00
E: gie@gie.eu

  > - For inquiries, please contact the GIE Secretariat :
       
      GIE
      Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE)
Avenue de Cortenbergh 100
1000 Brussels
Belgium
       
      T +32 2 209 05 00
Twitter @GIEBrussels
gie@gie.eu
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