Europe’s renewable hydrogen industry is urging European members of parliament (MEPs) to vote in favour of a key amendment that would scrap strict “additionality” rules that would force green H2 producers to secure all their renewable electricity from dedicated sources, Recharge can exclusively reveal.
Amendment 13 to the latest overhaul of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), due to be voted on by MEPs tomorrow (Wednesday), would also relax the proposed rules requiring green hydrogen producers to account for the provenance of all their renewable electricity on an hourly basis.
Instead, producers would be allowed to source electricity from the grid, provided they could verify it as renewable electricity by securing power purchase agreements (PPA) from renewables installations for the equivalent amount.
The balance between PPA purchases and grid purchases would be accounted for on a quarterly basis until 2030, and thereafter on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis, as decided by the European Commission (EC).
Sponsored by German MEP Markus Pieper and his centre-right voting block, the European People’s Party (EPP), the amendment would also effectively “delete” the controversial draft Delegated Act on additionality, replacing it with the more flexible stipulations embedded directly into Article 27 of the RED.
Hydrogen Europe, which represents over 400 hydrogen-related firms and trade associations, has written to MEPs in a letter seen by Recharge, urging them to vote yes on the amendment, claiming that the change is essential to allow Europe to compete with the United States for green H2 investment and for European hydrogen producers to keep costs down.
The proposed Delegated Act would have insisted on all renewable hydrogen producers sourcing electricity from dedicated renewable supply, with grid-sourced electricity allowed only when it could be offset with dedicated supply within the hour. The rule would not have applied to producers located in electricity bidding zones with more than 90% renewables in the power mix, such as those in the Nordic regions — a scenario that has not been addressed in the EEP's amendment proposal.
Last week the group’s chief executive, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, wrote to EC president Ursula von der Leyen warning that the “disproportionate” rules in the Delegated Act risked a mass exodus of producers to the US, tempted over by the Biden presidency’s generous incentives for green hydrogen production.
But Amendment 13 goes considerably further than Chatzimarkakis appeared to ask for in his plea to von der Leyen, scrapping not just the hourly accounting but also the requirement for all renewable hydrogen installations to have dedicated supply, and the entire draft regulatory proposal for green H2.
And if it passes, the amendment is likely to cause uproar among activists concerned about renewable hydrogen installations “cannibalising” renewable electricity supply which could usefully decarbonise other sectors.