Europe must position renewables as the most efficient, sustainable, scalable and cost-effective way to decarbonize the economy, the Choose Renewable Hydrogen initiative said in a letter to the European Commission this week.
The coalition – which includes companies and organizations such as First Solar, Iberdrola, Enel, BayWa r.e., and SolarPower Europe – sent the letter to mark the upcoming release of its “Energy System Integration and Hydrogen Strategies” plan on Wednesday. It was addressed to European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, and Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market.
The plan calls for Europe to prioritize the development of renewables-based hydrogen. The coalition claims that renewables are a proven, scalable way to fully decarbonize the continental economy, noting how solar PV and wind power have already expedited the decarbonization of the energy sector and created more than 400,000 jobs throughout the region.
“More than 60% of final energy consumption can be covered by direct electrification of final energy uses, such as road transport, heating and buildings, and industrial processes, with an energy system based on renewables,” the group said. “The upcoming Energy System Integration Strategy must accelerate the deployment of renewable electricity across these sectors, modernizing Europe’s electricity grid infrastructure and driving the electrification of the economy.”
Europe has barely scratched the surface when it comes to exploiting its renewables potential, the Choose Renewable Hydrogen coalition argued. But ongoing clean-energy deployment will facilitate the production of emissions-free, affordable and renewable hydrogen. It also sees the production of hydrogen via electrolysis with 100% renewable electricity as the best way to decarbonize industries that are particularly tough to electrify, such as the shipping and aviation sectors.
However, this will only be possible with clearly defined parameters for investors, Choose Renewable Hydrogen cautioned. EU policymakers must therefore identify ways to facilitate renewable hydrogen development through R&D and industrial expansion.
“The upcoming EU Hydrogen Strategy must build on our flourishing renewables industry to develop a robust and competitive EU electrolyzer industry,” the group concluded. “Together, the renewables, storage and electrolyzer industries can be the bedrock of Europe’s energy sector, employing millions of Europeans by 2050.”
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