HYDROGEN

Last week, oil and gas companies showed clear interest in hydrogen investments.

“Woodside is the only foreign direct investor in HyStation from the energy sector, joining South Korean state-owned gas company KOGAS, Hydrogenic Energy Fund (of which Hyundai Motor Company holds a majority share), Samsung C&T, Industrial Bank of Korea and Hyundai Rotem. The Korea Development Bank has agreed to provide some financing support for the newly established company,” wrote Australian petroleum exploration and production company Woodside.

Malaysia’s Petronas has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Japanese petroleum company Eneos. “The MoU will see both parties embark on a technical-commercial joint-study of a hydrogen supply chain which includes hydrogen production and its transportation in methylcyclohexane (MCH) form, where hydrogen is converted from its original gaseous state into a liquid form to enable large volume deliveries,” reads a note released by Petronas.

US-headquartered Chevron and Caterpillar signed a collaboration agreement. “The goal of the collaboration is to confirm the feasibility and performance of hydrogen for use as a commercially viable alternative to traditional fuels for line-haul rail and marine vessels. The collaboration also seeks to demonstrate hydrogen’s use in prime power,” reads the note released on Wednesday.

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Germany’s Uniper and the Port of Rotterdam Authority signed an MoU to produce green hydrogen at the Uniper location on Maasvlakte. “These plans build on the findings of a recent feasibility study and are in line with the new hydrogen infrastructure that has been planned and the growing demand for sustainable hydrogen from the Rotterdam petrochemical industry,” reads a note released on Monday.

But it was also governmental agencies and automotive companies showing interest.

South Korea's Hyundai aims to fully apply its commercial vehicle lineup with fuel cells by 2028. “The Group to introduce next-generation fuel cell system-in 2023 with costs being lowered by more than 50%, total package volume reduced by 30% and power output doubled,” wrote the note released on Tuesday.

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2021/09/07/the-hydrogen-stream-hyundai-wants-to-halve-fuel-cell-system-costs-in-two-years/

Germany’s BMW said its focus is on circular economy and sustainable urban mobility. “With this concept car, the BMW Group underlines both the importance of hydrogen fuel cell technology for the locally CO2-free mobility of tomorrow and its ability to master completely new challenges in the development of safety vehicles – while still pursuing sustainable solutions,” reads a note released on Tuesday.

US-based heavy-duty truck company Hyzon Motors has signed an MoU with Shanghai Hydrogen HongYun Automotive for the purchase of hydrogen-powered electric trucks. “Under the non-binding MoU, the initial order of 100 vehicles is expected before the end of 2021 while the other 400 vehicles will be ordered in 2022,” reads the note released on Thursday.

Public funds were made available in Western Australia, Japan, while a couple of significant developments (1 and 2) were reported in Germany too.

ENERGY AND GEOPOLITICS: TENSIONS GROW

This week, and possibly the coming ones, will be focused on energy prices. The politicisation of energy and climate policies seems more and more likely. So, for now, as demand grows more than expected (GDP growing faster than forecasted by EU institutions, as per comments by commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis after last week's Ecofin), oil and gas exporting countries will be under the political spotlight.

RUSSIA: STRENGTHENING TIES?

“The leaders of Russia and Belarus on Thursday agreed to set up a unified oil and gas market and to deepen economic integration in the face of what they regard as unjustified Western sanctions on both their economies,” wrote Reuters last week. The two also announced plans to integrate their energy markets.

This came while project backers were about to announce that the construction of 55-bcm Nord Stream 2 was completed. Russia’s state-owned oil producer Rosneft has asked to be allowed to export gas via Nord Stream 2. The needed certification process has already started, but could take several months to conclude.

NORWAY: CO2 STORAGE AND ONGOING ELECTIONS

Norwegians went to the polls on Sunday for the first of two days of voting in a parliamentary election dominated by the widening gap between rich and poor, climate change and how the oil-producing nation should adapt to the energy transition,” wrote Reuters on Sunday.

“Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has announced that it will be taking applications for CO2 storage in two areas, located in the North Sea and the Barents Sea,” wrote Gasworld, adding that the application deadline is set for December 9th 2021.

LAST WEEK: EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS

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The Commission has adopted a framework for green bonds, taking a step toward issuing green bonds with a total value of up to 250 billion. The Commission will issue the EU bonds exclusively through auctions, which are scheduled to begin Sept. 15. According to Euractiv, the green bonds issued by the EU will not finance natural gas projects included in national recovery and resilience plans.

"The NGEU green bond framework identifies nine broad categories to which green bond proceeds are directed - including energy efficiency, clean transportation and clean energy, which will be the largest expenditures under the Recovery and Resilience Facility," commented Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

The Commission adopted its second annual strategic foresight report entitled "EU Capacity and Freedom to Act." The communication presents a multidisciplinary perspective on EU strategic autonomy. It set out 10 key areas for action, including 1. ensuring decarbonized and affordable energy, 2. strengthening capacity in the areas of data management, artificial intelligence and cutting-edge technologies, 3. securing and diversifying supplies of essential raw materials.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Hydrogen Council, a global coalition of CEOs, have signed a partnership agreement to jointly promote green hydrogen across the energy system and make a significant contribution to global zero grid goals.

The Commission has launched a consultation that will close on September 26 to ask all stakeholders to comment on green hydrogen.

The Commission has launched a €785 million call for cross-border energy infrastructure projects. The call is open to projects included in the fourth list of projects of common interest (PCI).

The Commission has made legally binding under EU antitrust rules measures proposed by Greece to allow competitors of Public Power Corporation (PPC), Greece's state-owned electricity incumbent, to buy more electricity on a longer-term basis.

Italgas said it has been selected as Preferred Bidder under the tender to acquire 100% of Depa Infrastructure, currently owned by Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund and Hellenic Petroleum.

After launching the Clean Air Regions Initiative (CARI) at the Just Transition Forum on June 30, 2021, representatives of participating municipalities from the Western Balkans gathered for the first workshop to kick off work on local air quality policies and measures, reads a note from the Energy Community.

The EBRD has invested 2 million in energy efficiency in North Macedonia.

"The ministers insisted on the idea that we need a pragmatic, realistic and consistent approach with China and that we need unity and a common sense of responsibility. In addition, we need to engage with China on Afghanistan," said EU foreign policy high representative Josep Borrell after last week's foreign ministers' meeting (Gymnich).

LAST WEEK: OTHER NEWS

The global trade association for ship operators, the International Chamber of Shipping, has put forward a proposal for a global levy on carbon emissions from ships, in what would be a first for any industrial sector. “According to papers handed to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the UN’s regulatory body on shipping, the levy would be based on mandatory contributions by ships trading globally, exceeding 5,000 gross tonnage, for each tonne of CO2 emitted,” reads the press release published last Monday.

DMT has been appointed to support the construction of SuedLink, the longest underground power cable in the world, which will transport wind energy from northern Germany to Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, wrote Renewable Energy World. The connection of SuedLink to Germany’s electricity grid should take place in 2027. That’s the kind of central development that is flying under the radar.

“The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog hailed a deal struck with Iran on Sunday (12 September) over access to surveillance equipment at Iranian nuclear facilities, saying it allowed space for diplomatic talks,” wrote Euractiv this morning. Officials representing the IAEA and the Iranian government ”reaffirmed the spirit of cooperation and mutual trust and its continuation and emphasized on the necessity of addressing the relevant issues in a constructive atmosphere and exclusively in a technical manner,” reads the IAEA press release.

NEXT WEEK

First Plenary of the European Parliament after the summer break. Wednesday's speech by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the state of the European Union (with focus on pandemic and European geopolitical challenges) is expected to be the highlight of the week. Question: will the head of the European executive intervene in the debate on energy prices?

The Parliament will also discuss Afghanistan, the rule of law in Poland and relations with Russia. In the energy field: the debate on Tuesday in Strasbourg on Fit for 55 after the recent publication of the IPCC report and the debate on the relationship between natural disasters and climate change, also Tuesday morning.

Vice-President Frans Timmermans has two important appointments so far: on Wednesday he will meet representatives of Eufores (European Forum for Renewable Energy Sources), on Thursday he will take part in the high-level dialogue with Turkey.

Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson will speak via videoconference at the BDEW 2021 Congress, organized in Berlin. Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski of Poland will be at the G20 Agriculture in Florence on Thursday and Friday.

The Council has next week several appointments to keep an eye on such as the General Affairs Council (in preparation for the October European Council) on relations with the United Kingdom, and the Energy and Transport Council on the Renewables and Energy Efficiency Directives, as well as on "alternative fuels".

This is not to say that the Council has nothing on its agenda these days. Council President Charles Michel speaks Friday at the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate.

In addition, the Council’s working party on energy, scheduled for today, is discussing the network code on cybersecurity, a Commission intervention on the UN High Level Dialogue on Sustainable Energy and a second on the Energy Community. It will also discuss the review of the Renewables Directive.

Today also the conference organized by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on railways in the Western Balkans, tomorrow the ACER/CEER webinar on methane emissions.

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