As per the European Commission’s recently published rules, hydrogen produced in nuclear-based energy systems could be allowed to count towards EU renewable energy targets, thereby signalling a win for France, which happens to be pro-nuclear.
Hydrogen is at the centre of Europe’s plans to decarbonize heavy industry, and these rules happen to incentivize the industries as well as investors to shift from fossil fuels produced from hydrogen to those produced from renewable electricity.
There has been a dispute on what the European Union is going to count as renewable in recent months between France and nations such as Germany, who happen to have the opinion that nuclear-based energy doesn’t have to be included. After almost a month-long delay when it comes amid lobbying from capitals, Brussels has now put into account three hydrogen types which will count towards renewable energy targets. These types include hydrogen production facilities that get directly connected to a renewable electricity generator and those that take grid power if the local electricity zone happens to have more than an average share of 90% of renewable power in 2022.
Facilities can also avail themselves of grid power in the regions that happen to be meeting a low CO2 emission limit, which is potentially based on nuclear, as long as the producer also gets into a long-term power purchase agreement with any of the renewable electricity providers based across their region. Requiring manufacturers to directly use newly installed renewable power or ink a PPA to aid new local renewable energy projects is done so as to stop hydrogen producers taking up existing capacity of renewable electricity which could be of risk in driving up the generation of fossil fuels so as to meet the overall energy demand.
Apparently, the EU nations as well as the lawmakers have a couple of months to raise objections against these rules, or else they are going to enter into force.
The dispute between countries over nuclear-based hydrogen has already caused a delay in the negotiations on the new renewable energy targets of the EU, which have again resumed.