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Brussels is green-lighting nuclear hydrogen to please France

The EU relies heavily on hydrogen for its energy capacity in a decarbonized future. Spain wants to lead this sector, for which it has created the infrastructure with which it intends to supply the continent with 10% of the consumption of this energy vector by 2030. Staying out of the plan threatened the plan’s viability because of French opposition, Reuters reported last week. The European Commission has now subverted French interests by relegating nuclear power’s hydrogen to a “green” or sustainable label.

The Community government this Monday published its proposal to lay down the conditions under which hydrogen or products derived from it can be considered a “renewable fuel of non-biological origin”. The Commission has chosen to present two delegated acts, which must be approved by the European Council and the European Parliament within two months, but cannot be amended.

“In principle, non-biological liquid and gaseous fuels produced with electricity are considered renewable only when the electricity is renewable,” the document states. However, it opens the door for hydrogen from other sources that have lower emissions to be considered sustainable. And that’s where the path to nuclear power ends, as France or Sweden claim.

Thus, the EU considers renewable hydrogen, which is 90% clean energy and low-carbon, coming from non-renewable sources, producing 70% less greenhouse gases than natural gas over its entire life cycle. The EU has already described nuclear power and gas as “green” in another delegated act passed last year in the European Parliament thanks to support from the right and far-right.

The proposal excludes the obligation to increase the share of renewable energy in regions “with an electricity emission intensity of less than 18 gCO2eq/MJ”, in a move geared towards nuclear technology. “In such cases, it is reasonable to consider grid-derived electricity as fully renewable as long as the renewable properties of the electricity are demonstrated” through long-term purchase and sale agreements (known in the industry as PPAs).

As an expert in the regulation of the sector explains, the proposal published this Monday is “the objective of France in terms of nuclear, as low emission intensity zones are introduced” and a “customized” calculation of French generation interests.

The proposal clears up uncertainty over the future of the Barcelona-Marseille pipeline (BarMar), which has been cast in doubt by France over its exclusion of pink hydrogen, just weeks after Pedro Sánchez, Emmanuel Macron and Antonio Costa made the bet. December for this infrastructure, which Germany sees as key to powering its industry.

Sources in the Ministry of Environmental Transition indicate that they are still “studying” the proposal recently published by the commission.

Source: El Diario





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