European Commission formally adopts rules on renewable hydrogen

The European Commission (EC) has formally published the two delegated acts outlining detailed rules on the EU definition of renewable hydrogen.

Courtesy of the European Commission / Photo by Mauro Bottaro

The first act defines under which conditions hydrogen, hydrogen-based fuels or other energy carriers can be considered as renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs), while the second act provides a methodology for calculating life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions for RFNBOs.

The first act also clarifies the principle of “additionality” for hydrogen set out in the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive and sets criteria to ensure that renewable hydrogen is only produced when and where it is needed and outlines how producers can demonstrate compliance with the rules.

According to the EC, the principle of “additionally” aims to ensure that the supplies of renewable hydrogen which are due to come on board by 2030 are connected to new, rather than existing, renewable energy production, incentivising an increase in the volume of renewable energy available in the EU.

The second act takes into consideration emissions associated with taking electricity from the grid, from processing, and those associated with transporting these fuels to the end-consumer.

The Commission estimated that around 500 TWh of renewable electricity is needed to meet the 2030 ambition in REPowerEU of producing 10 million tons of RFNBOs, noting that while initial electricity demand for hydrogen production will be negligible, it will increase towards 2030 with the mass rollout of large-scale electrolysers.

The new rules will formally enter into force 20 days following their publication in the Official Journal, the EC said, noting that the final texts are unchanged from the draft acts adopted on 13 February 2023. They will apply to both domestic producers and international producers exporting renewable hydrogen to the EU.

The Commission noted it will remain in close contact with stakeholders and certification schemes to support the practical implementation of the framework.

To note, the acts are part of a broad EU regulatory framework for hydrogen that includes energy infrastructure investments and state aid rules, as well as legislative targets for renewable hydrogen for the industry and transport sectors, and are expected to ensure that all renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs) are produced from renewable electricity.

According to the EC, the acts are interrelated and both are necessary for the fuels to be counted towards EU countries’ renewable energy targets. Furthermore, they are expected to provide regulatory certainty to investors as the EU aims to reach 10 million tons of domestic renewable hydrogen production and 10 million tons of imported renewable hydrogen by 2030 in line with the REPowerEU Plan.

EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson said: “Today, the delegated acts on renewable hydrogen have been approved. This means legal certainty for both producers and consumers of renewable hydrogen, and is a pivotal step to attract the necessary investments to decarbonize our energy system.”


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