Bellona welcomes the ongoing efforts by countries to decarbonise and displace unabated fossil fuel use through new technologies, energy systems and carriers. Hydrogen undoubtedly has a key role to play in these efforts. As an energy vector, rather than a source, however, renewable hydrogen is reliant on immense amounts of renewable electricity to approximate the supply needed for a successful and rapid transformation. Bellona, therefore, firmly believes that in the medium-term, hydrogen applications should be as limited as possible, to those that cannot be directly electrified or have no other means for climate mitigation.
Nevertheless, access to plentiful and, therefore cheap renewable electricity has become an incredibly valuable commodity. For industrial countries with high energy demand and population density, such as Germany, relying on imports of hydrogen is a certainty. Building out a global hydrogen network and investing in its development across the globe has therefore become an important aspect for domestic climate action to ensure both security of access and commerciality. Given the nature of H2Global – to utilise resources that are more abundant in other countries for the decarbonisation of one’s own economy – the adherence to Sustainable Development principles and Goals (SDGs) are crucial to ensure access to a just transition to all the parties involved.
Hence, associated efforts, particularly in vulnerable emerging and developing economies, need to be carefully planned, regulated and implemented. Given possibly poorer governance structures in some of the target regions, projects like H2Global have a duty to ensure no unfair exploitation of resources takes place, opportunities and benefits for local communities are created, and the products achieve a real climate benefit both domestic and abroad by adhering to enforced minimum climate standards. Unfortunately, the provided information as part of the current Market Consultation remains too vague to build trust that H2Global won’t undermine key SDGs and global climate action.