Credit DBT Inga HaarSource: NWN/Rainer Jensen

EU Commission defines renewable hydrogen

Hydrogen is a central component of the energy transformation. For this, it is important that renewable (green) hydrogen is used in the future. The EU Commission has recently published a delegated act that defines theconditions under which electricity may be used for hydrogen production and when the resulting hydrogen is recognizedas "renewable". The delegated act focuses on hydrogen of non-biogenic origin. This means that primarily hydrogen from electrolysis is meant and not from methane pyrolysis.

Renewable hydrogen 

Source: NWN/Daniel George

Larissa El Lahib, business lawyer and project manager on the part of the Lower Saxony Business Associations (UVN) in the NWN, explains the draft:

There are different possibilities when electricity for the production of hydrogen in an electrolyser can be considered renewable. which can be found in Article 3 and Article 4. For example, in the case of electricity from the grid, it is counted as renewable for hydrogen production if the following conditions are met at the electrolyzer:

  • is located in a power bid zone with a RE share of more than 90 percent,
  • or it is located in an electricity bidding zone with an emission intensity of electricity generation of less than 18 g CO2e per MJ / 65 g CO2e per kWh
  • or if the criteria of additionality and the conditions of temporal and spatial correlation are present.

At this means:

  • "Additionality": e.g., a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) has been entered into for electricity from a RE facility and the electricity is from a RE facility that was commissioned no earlier than 36 months prior to the electrolyzer. In addition, there must be no public subsidy.

There would be a transition period for projects placed in service before January 1, 2028.

  • "temporal correlation": e.g. the RES-E was produced in the same hour as the hydrogen. However, this is not to apply until 2030. Until the end of 2029, the RES-E may be produced in the same month as the hydrogen. In addition, Article 6 must be observed here.
  • "Geographical correlation": e.g., RES-E and hydrogen were basically generated in the same electricity bidding zone (Article 7).

Where do we go from here? The EU Parliament and Council now have two months to consider the two pieces of legislation. They can either be adopted or rejected, but not amended.


Assessments from the industry

Source: NWN/Daniel GeorgeDr. Alexander Bedrunka, Technical Officer at KEAN and Project Manager NWN On the meaning of the Delegated Act and the definition: 

We have waited two years for this decision and have thus been on the brakes for two years in terms of transformation. We therefore welcome the fact that the Delegated Act is finally available and thus ensures planning security for companies.

The industry was concerned in advance that the regulations would be too detailed - the EU is meeting this concern with a gradual introduction, in particular the temporal correlation. Nevertheless, there is criticism: From 2028, the regulations would unnecessarily restrict production for electrolysers and increase the costs of domestic hydrogen production.  

Environmental associations are pleased with the decision to link hydrogen production to the expansion of renewable electricity in order to counteract a slowdown in expansion. At the same time, however, they criticize the fact that hydrogen from nuclear power is recognized as renewable in France and Sweden. In principle, the EU rules should also be read here as meaning that the expansion of renewables must be accelerated. 

Even though the current focus is often on America and the Inflation Reduction Act, Europe is considered a pioneer worldwide with this bill. No other country has such a comprehensive set of regulations defining renewable hydrogen.