Fostering a Sustainable Hydrogen Economy in Europe and Greece: Strategic Directions and the Role of the European Hydrogen Bank

By Nikolaos Ntavos


In an ambitious stride towards promoting a hydrogen economy, Kadri Simson, European Commissioner for Energy, and Robert Habeck, German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, declared a historic alliance between the newly established European Hydrogen Bank and Germany’s H2Global support scheme yesterday. The goal of this partnership is to extend the reach of H2Global to every EU Member State that wishes to carry out their own hydrogen tenders while simultaneously constructing a European auction for international hydrogen imports. This signifies a critical phase in shaping the import component of the European Hydrogen Bank

To catalyze this development, the European Hydrogen Bank has earmarked a generous €800 million budget for its first pilot auction, scheduled to commence before the end of this year. This substantial investment is expected to invigorate domestic hydrogen production. The collaboration with H2Global will enable the Bank to incorporate the much-needed influx of renewable hydrogen from sources beyond the EU borders. The joint efforts of these initiatives signal an unequivocal commitment to nurturing a vigorous and sustainable hydrogen market across Europe.

The integration of the European Hydrogen Bank with Germany’s H2Global support scheme constitutes a pivotal strategic direction in hastening the growth of the hydrogen economy. By pooling expertise and resources among EU Member States, the Bank functions as a conduit for knowledge exchange, promoting cooperation and the adoption of best practices throughout Europe. This collaborative method will be instrumental in accelerating the development of hydrogen infrastructure, stimulating research and innovation, and shaping a conducive regulatory environment.

Legal and economic aspects hold the key to the success of hydrogen investments. Providing a stable and transparent legal framework ensures long-term confidence for investors, luring private capital and fostering innovation. Concurrently, economic incentives like subsidies, tax benefits, feed-in tariffs, and carbon pricing mechanisms, can catalyze hydrogen projects, bolstering market competitiveness and attracting further investments.

The ongoing energy crisis offers a golden opportunity to underscore the relevance of hydrogen as a dependable and sustainable energy source. Amid fluctuating fossil fuel prices and escalating concerns over energy security, hydrogen investment offers stability and resilience. European governments can utilize this juncture to prioritize hydrogen in their energy strategies, exploiting the crisis to motivate private investments and diversify their energy sources.

In order to truly unlock the potential of hydrogen, it is imperative to adopt a cross-sectoral approach. Integrating hydrogen technologies into a variety of industries like transportation, manufacturing, and power generation can produce synergistic benefits. Transportation sector’s adoption of hydrogen can dramatically decrease carbon emissions and improve air quality. Industrial use of hydrogen can expedite decarbonization efforts and increase competitiveness.

In Greece, specifically in the region of Western Macedonia, the Cluster of Bioeconomy and Environment of Western Macedonia (CluBE) has been at the forefront of efforts to build a valley dedicated to clean technologies and green hydrogen. CluBE, in collaboration with the Regional Authority of Western Macedonia, envisions a thriving ecosystem that cultivates cooperation among industries, research institutions, and local communities. By rallying collective efforts, the region seeks to draw investments, stimulate innovation, and lead the shift towards a sustainable hydrogen-centric economy.

As Europe plows forward in speeding up the development of the hydrogen economy, the cooperative efforts between the European Hydrogen Bank, Germany’s H2Global support scheme, and initiatives fostered by CluBE highlight the continent’s dedication to eco-friendly energy solutions. With bold strategic decisions, emphasizing legal and economic aspects, utilizing the energy crisis as a launching pad, and embracing a cross-sectoral approach, Europe positions itself to lead the global hydrogen revolution, thereby paving the path towards a sustainable, low-carbon future.

The European Hydrogen Bank has a significant role to play in implementing these strategic decisions on a European, national, and regional scale. The Bank can offer financial support and investment incentives for hydrogen development projects, and Greece must act promptly to leverage the maturing European Hydrogen Bank and advance specific hydrogen projects.

In Greece, the government’s delay in releasing the Hydrogen Roadmap could potentially impact the country’s standing in the hydrogen sector as other regions in Southeastern Europe have already established supporting plans and policies for the hydrogen economy. A clear directive for hydrogen development in Greece is critical to establishing a stable environment for investment and technological progression.

Moreover, it is crucial to tackle the high integration of renewables in the Greek energy sector and the resulting loss of renewable electricity due to inadequate energy storage. While Greece has made significant strides in harnessing renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, the absence of effective energy storage solutions results in substantial loss of renewable electricity, preventing complete utilization of these clean energy resources.

To fully leverage the potential of renewables and resolve the issue of lost renewable electricity, the newly elected Greek government must prioritize the development of energy storage infrastructure, especially focusing on hydrogen-based solutions. Hydrogen can serve as a potent energy storage medium, facilitating the conversion and utilization of surplus renewable electricity during low-demand periods.

By centering efforts on the development of hydrogen-based energy storage systems, Greece can enhance the incorporation of renewables in its energy mix and establish a more adaptive and resilient energy system. This strategy will not only address the issue of lost renewable electricity but also contribute to the overall stability, sustainability, and decarbonization of the Greek energy sector.

In conclusion, the new Greek government, following the elections, must act promptly to endorse the development of hydrogen technologies, create a favorable legal framework, and prioritize the installation of energy storage solutions. By doing so, Greece can effectively harness its renewable energy potential, accelerate the emergence of the hydrogen economy, and establish a more sustainable and resilient energy future.


Nikolaos Ntavos is Co-Founder and Manager of CluBE, Senior Expert in Green Hydrogen


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