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SUMMARY

Due to be published on December 14, the package aims to address shortcomings in the existing regulatory framework for hydrogen.

By Joseph Murphy

The European Commission's upcoming hydrogen and gas decarbonisation package will provide rules on the market design for hydrogen, as well as access to pipelines and infrastructure development, energy commissioner Kadri Simson said on December 1.

Due to be published on December 14, the package aims to address shortcomings in the existing regulatory framework for hydrogen, in order to spur the market's development, Simson said in a speech. She noted that the current regulation does not address the deployment of hydrogen via dedicated hydrogen networks and lacked rules on tariff-based investments in pure hydrogen networks or on access to, and the operation and ownership of, these networks. There are also no rules on pure hydrogen quality.

Simson said the regulation would "draw inspiration from the market principles set out in the gas directive and regulation concerning Third Party Access, ownership unbundling and tariff setting." But she added that these principles would need to be adapted "to the reality of a market that is still emerging and needs scaling up."

"For instance, we will take into account that today there are already some industrial hydrogen users who own both the hydrogen networks and the production facilities," she explained. "This also means that to the extent that their network is confined and not connected to the grid, it makes sense that they get derogations from unbundling rules."

Market design rules are needed to give hydrogen investors the certainty they need and in order to scale up the sector, she said. The aim is also to create cost-effective, cross-border infrastructure that helps integrate renewable and low-carbon gases, and foster integrated network planning. The commission also wants to promote consumer engagement with the new package, Simson said.

She stressed that for a hydrogen market to be established, there needed to be "clear definitions and trusted certification" of hydrogen's quality and carbon intensity.