The European Commission on Wednesday proposed a new framework for the EU to decarbonise its gas market through increased adoption of renewable and low-carbon options like biomethane and hydrogen.
“With today's proposals, we are creating the conditions for the green transition in our gas sector, boosting the use of clean gases. A key element of this transition is establishing a competitive hydrogen market with dedicated infrastructure. [...] We are also proposing strict rules on methane emissions from gas, oil and coal, to reduce emissions in these sectors by 80% by 2030 and to trigger action on methane outside the EU,” stated Kadri Simson, commissioner for energy.
Establishing a market for hydrogen is among the main objectives, alongside the creation of the right investment environment and the development of dedicated infrastructure. The Commission said in a statement that the market rules for this will be applied in two phases -- before and after 2030. They will cover access to hydrogen infrastructures, the separation of hydrogen production and transport activities, and tariff setting.
The European Network of Network Operators for Hydrogen (ENNOH) will be set up to promote a dedicated hydrogen infrastructure, cross-border coordination and interconnector network construction. It will also elaborate on specific technical rules.
National network development plans should be based on a joint scenario for electricity, gas and hydrogen. Gas network operators will be expected to provide information on infrastructure that can be decommissioned or repurposed. With new rules, renewable and low-carbon gases will be able to more easily access the current gas grid, aided by the elimination of tariffs for cross-border interconnections and the reduction of tariffs at injection points.
Low-carbon gases will also benefit from a newly-created certification system, while long-term contracts for unabated fossil natural gas will be denied extensions beyond 2049.
In the meantime, the oil, gas and coal sectors will be required to measure, report and verify methane emissions. They will abide by strict rules in relation to the detection and repair of methane leaks.
The proposals align with the block’s goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and become climate-neutral by 2050.
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