Second North Hydrogen Ports and Maritime Community (NS HyMaP) Information Bulletin Published

Written on the 20th May, 2020

On 18 May, European Policy Solutions published the Second NS HyMaP Information Bulletin.  The Bulletin is published every fortnight and is currently free of charge.

The Bulletin begins by the announcement of Shell, the Port of Rotterdam and Gasunie to build a Hydrogen Hub and pipeline in Rotterdam.

There is growing speculation about economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the type of recovery when the pandemic recedes.  We summarise two Reports from International Energy Agency (IEA.) The first looks at the IEA Global Review 2020, the energy use in the first quarter of 2020 and the outlook for the rest of the year. The second Report looks at prospects for electrolyser production in the short to medium term and its support from both hydrogen and batteries.   This represents positive support for the electrolyser industry.

The IEA’s Global Review covers the first quarter of 2020 and only includes the beginning of the lockdown. The German Government has said that its economy declined by 2.2% in the first quarter so economic and energy consumption figures are likely to be extremely worrying in the second quarter.

Hydrogen Europe has undertaken an analysis of the effects of the pandemic on the hydrogen industry and this is also reviewed in the Bulletin. This is followed by the European Council agreement of a framework for a Recovery Package and by the President of the European Commission speech to the European Parliament (13 May 2020) where she puts ‘flesh on the bones ‘ of a Recovery Plan. The Commission will put the Plan to the European Council at the Council meeting in mid June.

A very positive response has come from Kadri Simson, the EU Energy Commissioner who sees an important role for hydrogen in the Green Deal and in the development of an Energy System integration Strategy across the EU. We will follow developments closely.

The shape of a recovery when the pandemic is over is a matter of much discussion. There are encouraging words from the European Commissioners that the Green Deal and climate neutrality will be at heart of any Recovery Plan. However, they still have to convince some Member States on the scale of support for the Recovery Plan and the commitment to decarbonisation.   With a low price for oil, it is an ideal opportunity to move subsidies from fossil fuels into low carbon production like hydrogen, but will this happen? The UK Government’s Budget was announced shortly before the UK lockdown but the Chancellor resisted a move to increase fuel duty on diesel and petrol.   The big question is will we see a far sighted Recovery Plan that anticipates the huge challenges posed by climate change or will it be ‘Business As Usual’

The Bulletin also has information about the webinars that are now replacing cancelled conferences.   The webinars that we have covered in this Bulletin look at the Climate Neutrality debate and offshore wind as these are both central to the adoption of hydrogen and the ports and maritime sector in the North Sea. For instance, one of the most interesting contributions at the All Energy webinars was from Professor Rebecca Willis. She has looked at the attitude of politicians to climate change and has some very useful insights into their thinking and the importance of their support.

It now seems that Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom are becoming more aware of the potential of hydrogen.   The UK Government has sponsored a number of hydrogen programmes in mobility and heat and we have seen the positive attitude of the Department for Transport in the North Sea Hydrogen Ports Conferences but it is very important that Members of Parliament support hydrogen applications. The decision of the Environmental Audit Committee to mount an Inquiry into the potential of the hydrogen industry is very welcome.

If you would like to receive a copy of the NS HyMap Information Bulletin, please contact Jon Jordan at [email protected]

 

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