23.11.2021

“H2-READY ... When you are!” EUGINE-EUTurbines Online Event

On the 16th of November, EUGINE and EUTurbines organized a joined online event on the topic of hydrogen-readiness, gathering close to 100 participants.

The event explained the joint EUGINE-EUTurbines hydrogen-readiness concept for power plants, informed about the technology available today and, in the context of the upcoming gas decarbonisation package, discussed what is needed to make the switch to clean, reliable and dispatchable power a reality.

Setting the scene: towards the hydrogen and decarbonised gas package

The event was opened with an intervention of Tatiana Márquez Uriarte, Member of the Cabinet of Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, who sketched out past and upcoming policy developments related to gas markets. In December, the European Commission will publish the 2nd part of the “Fit for 55” package, which will have two parts: one on methane emissions and another one on hydrogen and decarbonised gas. This upcoming package should help facilitate the injection of renewable gases into the existing grid and better integrate the network planning between gas and electricity.

Ms Márquez Uriarte also welcomed the EUGINE-EUTurbines H2-Readiness initiative, which would help ensure that the energy industry is not locked into stranded investments.

Hydrogen-Readiness of Power Plants - A common understanding

The H2-readiness concept of power plants was presented by Hermann Kröger, EUGINE President and Senior Vice-President at MAN Energy Solutions. Today, most plants are still optimized to run on natural gas. “H2-ready” therefore means that whenever sufficient hydrogen is available, the plants can easily be adapted to operate with hydrogen. Mr Kröger importantly underlined that gas power plants do not compete with renewables but complement them – a reminder that was both welcomed by panelists and by participants.

Panel discussion: Using hydrogen in power generation

The panel discussion was moderated by Sonja van Renssen, Editor-in-chief Energy Monitor.

Matthias Deutsch, Programme Lead Hydrogen at Agora Energiewende, started by presenting the “Climate-neutral Germany 2045" study. The study foresees around 43GW of gas power plants in Germany, which, starting form 2030, will gradually switch to full hydrogen operation until 2045.  . Those plants will provide decarbonised heat and power and will be the most important energy source for residual power generation to back-up variable renewables. Hydrogen power plants will also be able to cover additional heat demand in case of extreme weather conditions.

Torben Brabo, Senior Vice-President at Energinet Group and GIE President, welcomed the EUGINE-EUT initiative and reassured the power plant industry that the grids can and will be ready for hydrogen. He also underlined the different country and regional approaches to blending and pure hydrogen networks (European hydrogen backbone) and the need for integrated infrastructure planning between different energy vectors.

Guillaume Gillet, Director European Affairs at ENGIE, explained that his company plans to cover the whole hydrogen value chain. He underlined three interlinked requirements for kick-starting the use of hydrogen in the energy sector: a suitable market design, decreasing costs and increasing volumes. He also stressed that, for investments to happen in both hydrogen and hydrogen-ready plants, the EU would need to “get the Taxonomy right”. He added that, the switch from coal to gas plants was still a very relevant transition activity and should be considered as such.

Anja Frada, Vice-President, Strategy & Business Development, Energy Business at Wärtsilä, insisted that flexible, firm capacity such as hydrogen power plants will be needed to complement variable generation. Market incentives to invest in this kind of flexibility will be essential. She also underlined that their engines can, already today, use up to 25% of hydrogen; engines ready to run on 100% hydrogen will be available by 2025.

“Ready when you are! – A framework supporting the change”

Thomas Thiemann, Senior Vice-President at Siemens Energy and President of EUTurbines, closed the event by outlining the policy framework needed to support hydrogen-ready power plants, including: an integrated infrastructure planning that includes technology providers, the access of power plants to hydrogen networks, predictable hydrogen market developments and business models valuing flexible, dispatchable and decarbonised power.

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