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Google calls for more restrictive ‘green’ hydrogen rules

US technology giant Google, leading a group of several companies including Spanish utility Iberdrola and the Dutch natural gas firm Eneco, has urged the European Commission (EC) to adopt strict rules on what can be classified as ‘green’ hydrogen.

On 2 November, Google, Iberdrola and Eneco, among others, addressed an open letter to the EC ‘as companies committed to advancing the goals to make Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050’.

The role of hydrogen produced by renewable electricity as a key tool to accelerate decarbonisation across the economy and reduce dependency on fossil fuels was highlighted in the letter.

With this in mind, signatories of the letter stressed that European policymakers must enact a policy framework that provides clarity as soon as possible while ensuring that hydrogen produced by electrolysis actually reduces emissions as the industry develops and scales.

“We, therefore, urge the European Commission to adopt an ambitious Delegated Act on Renewable Fuels of Non-Biological Origin (RFNBOs) as soon as possible. We are concerned that without a strong Delegated Act, there will not be the necessary safeguards to ensure that renewable hydrogen delivers emissions reductions, and believe adopting and approving the Delegated Act is critical to provide certainty to move forward quickly with renewable hydrogen projects”, the letter states.

“Without the Delegated Act, investment decisions for new electrolysers and associated renewable energy could be delayed by years, which will put delivery of the EU’s 2030 renewable hydrogen targets at risk.”

The letter proceeds to detail criteria that should be included in the Delegation Act, in line with the original Delegated Act published for consultation in May this year.

The signatory parties said that standards developed under the Delegated Act will shape the trajectory of the renewable hydrogen industry, not just in Europe but around the world.

“The United States, for example, will soon develop its own standards and strong standards in Europe will ensure the United States follows suit.

“We urge you to advance ambitious and effective standards that ensure the environmental integrity of renewable hydrogen as it scales as a key decarbonisation tool in the coming decades”, the letter concludes.

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