The European Commission's (EC) REPowerEU Plan is meant to speed up the expansion of renewables and the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy but the detailed rules will instead "put the brakes on needed investment in the coming years", according to RWE AG's (ETR:RWE) chief executive Markus Krebber.
In a press statement released on Monday, the German power major criticised the proposed rules saying that green hydrogen would not be available in large volumes before 2030 even in case of faster approval processes for new solar and wind power plants. This is because the EC's delegated act provides for the production of green hydrogen only using electricity from new, unsubsidised wind and solar plants by 2026.
RWE sees a problem also with the proposal for hydrogen to be produced when electricity is almost simultaneously being generated by these new wind or solar farms because this means that electrolysers would not operate during any extended calm periods. This would lead to higher hydrogen prices and a lack of continuous supply to the industry, RWE noted.
The Essen-based group is pushing for a change to the proposals and wants policy-makers to revise the planned criteria during the upcoming consultation. In RWE's view, all limiting criteria for the producers and purchasers of green hydrogen must be removed.
Under the REPowerEU Plan, the EU targets 10 million tonnes of domestic green hydrogen production and 10 million tonnes of green hydrogen imports by the end of the decade.
The plan is aimed at replacing natural gas, coal and oil in hard-to-decarbonise industries and transport sectors and ending Europe’s dependence on Russian gas as soon as possible.