Lawmakers in the European Parliament and Council announced that they have reached a provisional agreement on new regulation aimed at decarbonizing the gas sector, and facilitating the uptake of renewable and low-carbon gases, including hydrogen.
The new regulation forms part of a series of proposals by the European Commission in December 2021 to decarbonize the EU gas market, as part of the European Green Deal, supporting the EU goal to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030. The Commission added that it will also support its REPowerEU strategy, the EU plan to end its reliance on Russian fossil fuels.
Maroš Šefčovič, Executive Vice-President for European Green Deal, said:
“Making a smooth transition from fossil gas to renewable and low-carbon gases is important for our climate ambitions and our industrial competitiveness. Today’s agreement on new market rules is good news for industry and household consumers.”
The new regulation envisions the establishment of a common internal market rules for renewable and natural gases and hydrogen, with rules to have national network development plans based on joint scenarios for electricity, gas and hydrogen. According to the Commission, the regulation will help enable the uptake of renewable and low-carbon gases through the facilitation of connection and access to the existing gas grid, and will see the establishment of a connection and access to the existing gas grid, allowing for consistency in assessing the emissions footprint of different gases, in order to enable member states to compare and consider them in their energy mix.
One of the key amendments to the Commission’s package agreed to by the EU Counsel and Parliament targeted the establishment of a market design for hydrogen in Europe, with the formation of the EU entity for Hydrogen Network Operators (ENNOH), for cooperation of network operators at the EU level, aimed at promoting a dedicated hydrogen infrastructure, including cross-border coordination and interconnector network construction.
Kadri Simson, EU Commissioner for Energy, said:
“Today’s deal will help Europe move away from fossil fuels and embrace cleaner solutions. These new rules are vital not only to develop an internal market for renewable and low-carbon hydrogen, but also to ensure these cleaner gases will contribute to the decarbonisation of the EU’s economy. Today’s agreement takes us one concrete step closer to achieving our goals under the European Green Deal and the REPowerEU Plan.”
With the provisional agreement reached, the new regulation will need to be formally adopted by the EU Parliament and Council before entering into force.