Hydrogen Power — What is needed to make it a reality?

In 2050, most of Europe’s power supply will come from the wind and the sun. At the same time, with electricity provided to a very large extent by variable supply, the need for flexible power plants to balance out deviations in supply and demand will considerably increase.

In a system with very low amounts of dispatchable power generation, hydrogen can be used as an economically viable long-term energy storage solution.

Dispatchable power plants, such as power plants using climate-neutral hydrogen, will complement variable renewables and ensure that electricity supply matches demand at all times. This is especially important in prolonged periods of low renewable output or when low output is coupled to prolonged demand peaks.

The building blocks

Until larger shares of hydrogen become available, the hydrogen-readiness of new equipment guarantees that investments in gas power generation are future-proof and do not lead to a carbon lock-in.

Nevertheless, the technological hydrogen-readiness is not enough. EU and national policies should also recognise the role of hydrogen power plants in the future integrated energy system by ensuring that power plants have access to hydrogen and that hydrogen power is attractive for investors and power plant operators.

The hydrogen-readiness of the technology, the availability of hydrogen for power plants and supportive business models are the essential blocks to make hydrogen power generation a reality.

Learn more about the building blocks of hydrogen-ready power generation

Our Policy Recommendations

To facilitate the transition and avoid the risk of stranded assets, “hydrogen-readiness” should be defined in legislation as “the capacity to run on a given share of hydrogen and/or to be retrofitted with limited cost once hydrogen or higher shares of hydrogen become available”.

The energy system of tomorrow is being build today. If we want to build a system that is truly decarbonised and secure, the power sector needs to be regarded as a priority for the use of hydrogen, especially in infrastructure planning.

More specifically, for investments in future-proof technology to be made in a timely manner, the following requirements need to be met:

  • An integrated infrastructure planning that includes technology providers
  • Power plants’ access to hydrogen networks
  • Predictable hydrogen market developments
  • Business models valuing flexible, dispatchable and decarbonised power

 Download our H2-Ready Policy Recommendations