The International Energy Agency (IEA) on Monday called for quicker and more decisive action on the part of governments to accelerate low-carbon hydrogen growth.
“Governments need to take rapid actions to lower the barriers that are holding low-carbon hydrogen back from faster growth, which will be important if the world is to have a chance of reaching net zero emissions by 2050,” said IEA executive director Fatih Birol as the agency releases its Global Hydrogen Review 2021 report.
According to IEA, the world’s electrolyser capacity doubled over the last five years, reaching slightly above 300 MW by mid-2021. Currently there are around 350 projects under development, which could take global capacity up to 54 GW by 2030, while a further 40 of early-development projects could add more than 35 GW.
If all this electrolyser capacity is built it could supply more than 8 million tonnes of hydrogen by 2030, which is still well below the 80 million tonnes needed by that year for the global energy sector to reach net zero by 2050 under IEA’s roadmap.
There are also 50 projects under development for producing hydrogen from fossil fuels with carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS).
The hydrogen sector has so far seen at least USD 37 billion (EUR 32bn) in investment commitments from governments and USD 300 billion from the private sector. The IEA, however, estimates that USD 1,200 billion of investment between now and 2030 will be needed for a path in line with net zero by 2050.
The IEA also said that most government policies have focused on producing low-carbon hydrogen, while efforts to create demand have been more limited. It called for fast and widespread enactment of measures such as carbon prices, auctions, quotas, mandates and requirements in public procurement.
The IEA’s recommendations ask governments to develop strategies and roadmaps on the role of hydrogen in energy systems; and to create incentives for using low-carbon hydrogen to replace unabated fossil fuels. The agency also calls for mobilising investment in production, infrastructure and factories; supporting innovation; and creating appropriate certification, standardisation and regulation regimes.
The report was launched at the Hydrogen Energy Ministerial Meeting hosted by Japan.
(USD 1 = EUR 0.862)
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