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The EU Commission’s Hydrogen Strategy: A turning point?

On 8 July 2020, the Commission published its “strategic roadmap” for “building a hydrogen economy for a climate-neutral Europe”. This is one of the key actions of the EU “Green Deal” initially proposed by the EU Commission in December 2019 with the overarching goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050. It also echoes the “New Industrial Strategy for Europe” published in March 2020 and the expected “Recovery plan” currently under discussion in the context of the COVID-19 crisis.

The 20-page communication sets out a number of “key actions” the Commission will take over the next few months. These include legislative proposals, regulations, public consultations, as well as concrete initiatives such as the development of new policy tools to support hydrogen projects. In parallel, a Clean Hydrogen Alliance (CHA, comprising public and private stakeholders) is set to launch this summer to support and coordinate investments and support across sectors.

Many hydrogen players and observers hope this may finally kick-start long-awaited projects and initiatives. The actual impact will depend on the ability to build consensus among Member States on the chosen strategy and to coordinate both private and public investment as well as burgeoning national strategies.