Future of Green Hydrogen in Europe

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2022 was the year when energy resources, energy types, and energy transportation corridors; in short, energy issues came to the fore the most. The political moves brought about by the Russia-Ukraine War have created new crises in many areas, especially in European countries where the war has been going on right next to them. Since Russia has made Europe dependent on fossil fuels in the past, European countries found themselves in a dilemma with the Ukraine War. On the one hand, they wanted to embargo natural gas imports from Russia to deter Moscow; on the other hand, they suffered from the lack of alternatives to Russian natural gas and oil supplies.

In 2019, European Union (EU) countries announced the European Green Deal, which aims to become the world’s first “climate-neutral” continent by 2050 and stated that the 2020s will be a critical period for the realization of this goal.[1]  However, when the Ukraine War broke out, the shortage of natural gas increased the use of coal, and Europeans faced the reality that they were still dependent on fossil fuels. However, knowing that they could not fully replace natural gas, their goal of using green energy, in other words, renewable energy sources, remained on their agenda.

Electricity generated from renewable sources is at the forefront of the “green target.” Wind and solar power electricity have recently been widely used in Europe. However, it is difficult to say that this completely replaces fossil fuels. Therefore, “green hydrogen” has emerged as an important alternative.

Renewable hydrogen can be produced through electrolysis using renewable electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. It is thought to play a key role in decarbonizing sectors where other alternatives may be impossible or more expensive. It could be used to replace fossil-based hydrogen in transportation and industrial processes, and to start new industrial products such as green fertilizers and steel.[2]

The EU attaches importance to this energy source. In fact, the “EU Hydrogen Strategy” was published in July 2020. It mentions that cumulative investments in renewable hydrogen in Europe could reach 180-470 billion euros by 2050, compared to 3-18 billion euros for low-carbon fossil-based hydrogen. Coupled with the EU’s leadership in renewable energy technologies, the emergence of a hydrogen value chain serving multiple industrial sectors and other end-uses could directly or indirectly create up to 1 million jobs.[3]

In addition, the European Commission launched the REPowerEU plan on energy in May 2022. In the short term, this plan includes the supply of natural gas, LNG and green hydrogen through the EU Energy Platform, the establishment of new energy partnerships with reliable suppliers, and the implementation of new solar and wind energy projects.[4] Furthermore, the REPowerEU plan aims to produce 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen in the EU and import 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen by 2030.

In addition, the fact that the EU is taking green hydrogen seriously is evident from the economic investments and financial funding the organization is making in this field. On September 21, 2022, the European Commission approved public funding of up to 5.2 billion euros (about 5.2 billion dollars) for hydrogen projects. Again, the commission said that this financing could unlock a further 7 billion euros of investment from the private sector.[5]

Although the EU attaches great importance to green hydrogen, there are concerns that the Union will not be able to produce all its own green hydrogen energy needs. EU Climate Chief Frans Timmermans, for example, argues this. While Timmermans believes that green hydrogen will be the EU’s most important energy source in the future, he has stated that the EU will never be able to produce all its own green hydrogens.[6] This means that Europe will also have to import green hydrogen. Therefore, external dependence will continue in this field as well.

As a result, among the many crises caused by the Russian-Ukrainian War, Europe is the geography most negatively affected by the energy crisis. While the EU, which represents a large part of Europe, has been pursuing green consensus and carbon-zero policies to combat global warming and climate change in recent years and aims to achieve these policies in 2050; in the 2020s, one of the most critical periods of this process, it was shaken first by the Covid-19 outbreak and then by the Ukrainian War. With the natural gas supply at risk, European countries realized how dependent they were in Russia in this area, but they were left helpless because alternative sources were not yet at their disposal. This is where green hydrogen has emerged as an important resource. While hydrogen is normally widely used throughout Europe, renewable hydrogen can meet the EU’s energy needs. For this reason, the EU has made significant investments in this energy source.

[1] “A European Green Deal”, European Commission,, (Date of Accession: 04.12.2022).

[2] “Hydrogen”, European Commission,, (Date of Accession: 04.12.2022).

[3] “Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions”, European Commission,, (Date of Accession: 04.12.2022).

[4] Ferhan Oral, “Yenilenebilir Enerji Kaynakları ve AB’nin “REPowerEU” İnisiyatifi”, ANKASAM,, (Date of Accession: 04.12.2022).

[5] Anmar Frangoul, “EU Approves up to $5.2 Billion in Public Funding for Hydrogen Projects”, CNBC,, (Date of Accession: 04.12.2022).

[6]  Leigh Collins, “‘Europe is Never Going to be Capable of Producing its Own Hydrogen in Sufficient Quantities’: EU Climate Chief”, Recharge,, (Date of Accession: 04.12.2022).

Sevinç İrem BALCI
Sevinç İrem Balcı, Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler bölümü mezunudur. İyi derecede İngilizce bilen Balcı, aynı zamanda Rusça ve Yunanca öğrenmektedir. Başlıca çalışma alanları Balkanlar ve Avrupa'dır.