This European week is not too busy. Apart from today’s meeting between MEPs and Commissione about the Recovery and Resilience Facility, the major focus should be on Russia.
Today the Parliament’s Special INGE Committee will hear Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former head of the Russian Yukos oil group. Debate on “Russian interference in EU affairs and in various EU member states.”
The theme, which is primarily political, might have repercussions on the energy world.
Three the appointments at the Council. Today the meeting between the Foreign Affairs ministers. They will be speaking about Russia and Western Balkans. According to a note, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry is expected to join for an exchange of views on climate issues.
These days, both the European Commission and the European Parliament will pay close attention to the Western Balkans. It is clear that the region offers a great opportunity for investments in the energy sector, as coal meets 70% of the area’s energy needs. It is also a key geopolitical piece of the puzzle.
This week also the Solar Power Summit 2021, taking place online from today till Wednesday. Ditte Juul-Jørgensen (Director General DG ENER at the European Commission), Francesco La Camera (Director-General at IRENA) among the speakers. Focus on the potential of the African continent, and agrivoltaic (session tomorrow at 11:30). High representation of women among the speakers.
To keep an eye also on the debate organised by the Florence School of Regulation (FSR) on the expectations about the Commission’s legislative proposal on hydrogen. Hydrogen Europe, ENTSOG, Acer, and the European Commission will intervene in the online event on Wednesday morning.
Coreper has approved the European Climate Law. Next and final steps: formal approval from the Parliament and the Council.
A first draft of the upcoming EU Renewables Directive (RED II) seen by Euractiv confirms a target of 38-40% of energy consumption from renewable sources by 2030, roughly doubling the share of solar, wind and other renewables in the EU energy mix by the end of the decade. According to articles by Reuters and Politico, the Commission should propose national targets on the expansion of renewable energy. The move would be a huge political and geopolitical move, especially ahead of COP26.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that the RED II should be unveiled on July 14 as part of the Fit-for-55 package. Appropriate and timely.
Rapid advances in offshore wind technology are outpacing the needed infrastructure investments, said the Clean Energy Technology service at IHS Markit in a report published last week. “As new developments are moving further offshore and into deeper waters, logistics, transit and installation become more complex and require larger specialized self-propelled jackup vessels with technical capabilities far beyond the existing fleet,” commented Andrei Utkin, principal analyst.
The European Commission published its revised Industrial Strategy. “We have to work with our likeminded partners to strengthen the resilience of our supply chains,” said vice-president Dombrovskis.
“The new Strategy acknowledges that permitting is the main bottleneck for the expansion of wind energy and the supporting infrastructure,” wrote WindEurope in a note released on Wednesday.
According to new data published on the EU by Eurostat last week, CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion decreased by 10% in 2020 compared with the previous year.
Eurostat also published data on EU energy supplies in 2020. Gas is the fuel which registered the smallest decrease.
The European Parliament presented the ECA special report on “Electrical recharging infrastructure”.
Debates on the TEN-E regulation continued. ACER intervened to speak about the plans presented by ENTSOG and ENTSOE, underlining significant shortfalls, too much of a role of gas infrastructures. It also advocated for more independent assessments on the projects.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) and Clingendael International Energy Programme published the report “Hydrogen in North-Western Europe.”
Main points: 1. The North-Western Europe region is well placed to lead hydrogen adoption as a clean energy vector; 2. It has vast, underutilised renewable potential in the North Sea; 3. Converting offshore wind electricity into hydrogen adds an additional opportunity to absorb high volumes of wind generation; 4. “With current policies and confirmed plans from major industrial stakeholders in north-western Europe, the demand for hydrogen decreases slightly by 2030 due to competing forces.”
It does not come as a surprise that ports in Northwest Europe are taking the global lead in the sector. German steel companies are looking into options to source hydrogen from the biggest port in Europe (the Port of Rotterdam), whereas the Port of Antwerp (second biggest port in Europe) is teaming up with local players to deploy 300 hydrogen-powered trucks from Belgium to Duisburg (Germany).https://www.pv-magazine.com/2021/05/07/the-hydrogen-stream-more-hydrogen-for-the-ports-of-rotterdam-and-antwerp/
Germany’s liberal political party FDP, currently fifth political power in the polls but quite active ahead of September elections, wants to import green hydrogen from Ukraine.
Shell and research organisation Sintef confirmed that the official opening ceremony of the Refhyne project, in Rhineland Refinery (Germany), will take place on July 2. The companies called it “Europe’s largest PEM electrolyser.”
Germany is contributing not only as a potential buyer and as a hydrogen production center. Its research centres are working on hydrogen around the clock too. “Universally relying on hydrogen-based fuels instead and keeping combustion technologies threatens to lock in a further fossil fuel dependency and greenhouse gas emissions,” PIK Potsdam wrote.
Other Germany-based researchers (Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP) are looking into solutions for small hydrogen systems. “The intention is to design the wind turbine small enough to allow private individuals to have a system like this in their garden,” said Holger Seidlitz.
Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology is trying to find a way to reduce the cost of PEM water electrolysis.
France is also moving. French electric utility EDF Group signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Russian state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom.https://www.pv-magazine.com/2021/05/04/the-hydrogen-stream-rosatom-edf-join-forces-shell-builds-europes-largest-pem-electrolyzer/
Norway is flexing its hydrogen muscles too. Nel Hydrogen Electrolyser is selling a 2 MW, fully containerized MC400 electrolyser from Switzerland-focused H2 Energy. It then entered a collaboration with American manufacturer of solar panels First Solar to develop integrated PV Hydrogen power plants.
Meanwhile, Australia, Chile and Spain are stepping up policies and support measures for hydrogen production, and Denmark is looking into options to create PtX areas, where the country’s energy legislation would not apply.