The role of hydrogen as an energy system stabiliser may increase concurrently with the rollout of renewables


In recent years low-carbon hydrogen technologies have firmly positioned themselves in the energy transition strategies of EU Member States. They can play a key role in hard-to-abate sectors, such as steel and chemicals, where direct electrification is not feasible or sufficiently effective. The future deployment of low-carbon hydrogen will be dependent on the development of electrolysers and the supply of clean renewable energy, as well as an adequate regulatory framework. However, to-date hydrogen strategies of EU Member States do not feature detailed sectoral targets for the use of hydrogen, especially in existing demand applications (e.g. oil refining and chemicals), and do not make the scale of clean energy capacity addition requirements sufficiently clear.

The study prepared by Bruegel a Brussels-based think tank, aims to fill the knowledge in that regard by investigating the potential for and implications of renewable hydrogen deployment in Germany, Portugal and Poland. It explores their respective national hydrogen strategies, summarises their core elements, and critically evaluates and places them in the broader EU hydrogen plans. Some key takeaways include:

  • No-regret renewable hydrogen applications, i.e. those that could make use of it without significant changes to the functioning of their infrastructure, ought to be the industrial and chemical sectors,
  • The demand for renewable hydrogen, especially that coming from industrial sectors, will foster the development of regional hydrogen ecosystems (e.g. hydrogen valleys),
  • The role of hydrogen as an energy system stabiliser may increase concurrently with the rollout of renewables, leading to strengthening the energy security of the EU,
  • The modelled hydrogen consumption in the REPowerEU visibly differs from the ambitions contained in the considered national hydrogen strategies.

The study can be downloaded HERE

The study has been prepared for the Greening H2 consortium funded by the European Climate Initiative (EUKI), a project financing instrument by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action.

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