18 Jan 2022, 12:37
Jessica Bateman Julian Wettengel

EU taxonomy plans could lead to waste of precious green hydrogen – German industry

Tagesspiegel Background

German industry association BDI has criticised the EU’s natural gas taxonomy plans due to conditions regarding the share of climate-friendly gases in newly built gas power plants, writes Tagesspiegel Background. According to the European Commission’s proposal, only gas-fired power plants that burn a share of at least 30 percent hydrogen or biogas from 2026 and at least 55 percent from 2030 will officially be considered "sustainable," and operators of new gas-fired power plants would have to commit to this before construction. However, the necessary volumes of hydrogen or biogas would not yet be available, or they would be needed elsewhere, for example to decarbonise industry processes. “This would mean that domestic [hydrogen] production would be eaten up by the need for new gas-fired power plants, instead of the hydrogen being available where it is much more urgently needed,” said BDI’s head of energy policy Carsten Rolle.

The European Commission has proposed including investments in nuclear power as well as in certain natural gas projects in the taxonomy. The inclusion of nuclear has been advocated by France, whereas German politicians insisted that gas should be labelled sustainable as long as it can later be converted to green hydrogen use. EU member states can comment on the proposal until 21 January, before the Commission revises its proposal and passes it on to the member states and the European Parliament for approval.

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