The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) in the European Parliament has approved the twin Own-initiative reports on A European Strategy for Energy System Integration (ESI INI) and on A European Strategy for Hydrogen (Hydrogen INI). Together, the two reports reflect the ITRE Committee’s view on the strategies presented by the European Commission in July last year. The ESI report was adopted with 60 votes in favour, 11 against and 5 abstentions, while the Hydrogen report was adopted with 46 votes in favour, 25 against and 5 abstentions.
The ESI report explicitly supports the decarbonisation of end-uses through direct electrification, calling on the European Commission to accelerate the transition to renewable energy-based systems and the electrification of end-use sectors. In addition to this, the report calls for a targeted revision of the State Aid guidelines to promote the deployment of renewable energy sources. In this regard, it singles out the potential for integrating solar at the distribution level and calls on Member States to remove administrative barriers for renewable energy projects. The ESI report also stresses the need to develop a renewable hydrogen supply chain in Europe.
The Hydrogen report defines hydrogen from renewable sources as crucial to Europe’s energy transition, because only hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources can sustainably contribute to climate neutrality and avoid lock-in effects or stranded assets. The report calls on the European Commission to promote lead markets for renewable hydrogen technologies and to promote their use for climate-neutral production, primarily in steel, cement, and chemical industries.
In addition to this, the Hydrogen report calls for the deployment of renewable energy capacity in proportion to future renewable hydrogen demand. The deployment of additional capacities, along with the setup, needs to be prepared as soon as possible, within the right regulatory framework for hydrogen that ensures standardisation, certification, guarantees of origin, labelling, and tradability across Member States. The report calls on the Commission to assign Guarantee of Origin to renewables and renewable hydrogen, and to frame the discussion in the context of the Renewable Energy Directive revision.
Aurelie Beauvais, Deputy CEO and Policy Director at SolarPower Europe said: “It is very good to see the European Parliament support the promotion of renewable-based electrification as the key driver to system integration. For those sectors which may be more difficult to electrify, renewable hydrogen will play a strategic role in delivering climate neutrality by 2050. In this light, the report is well-balanced and clearly acknowledges renewable hydrogen as the most sustainable and future-proof solution. While the report keeps the door open for ‘low-carbon hydrogen sources’, it is critical to ensure such technologies abide by the highest sustainability standards, and remain transitional solutions to avoid any investments in stranded assets.”
Miguel Herrero, Policy Advisor at SolarPower Europe added: “Thanks to its cost-effectiveness and versatility, solar energy is the perfect partner for a successful Energy System Integration. It is great that the European Parliament supports the deployment of distributed solar and echoes calls to remove barriers for the deployment of large-scale solar.”
Mercè Labordena, Senior Policy Advisor at SolarPower Europe said: “Renewable hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources has been recognised by the European Parliament as the key carrier to decarbonise the hard-to-abate sectors of our economy. This strategy will be accompanied by the deployment of significant additional renewable energy capacities and therefore is a step in the right direction if we are to achieve a climate-neutral Europe by 2050.”
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