Synthesis | Hydrogen: Optimising the leverage effect of the public money promised

Chair Club Debate

Author(s) Gabrielle Gauthey
Philippe Boucly
Stéphane Delpeyroux
Catherine Galano
Publication type Synthesis

June, 3rd 2021

France produces more than 900,000 tonnes of hydrogen every year, covering the needs of various industries. However, 94% of this hydrogen comes from fossil fuels. In the context of the energy transition, the question of decarbonisation arises. Green or low-carbon hydrogen can be produced from renewable energy sources using an electrolysis process. This technology also means that hydrogen can be used on a massive scale as an energy carrier, especially as it burns cleanly. It is also a solution for storing surplus renewable electricity using the "Power to gas" process.

In this way, green hydrogen can be used to provide a growing range of energy solutions, helping to decarbonise energy-intensive industrial sectors as well as the mobility sector, and to solve the problem of the variability of renewable energy production through storage.

The development of this energy carrier has therefore become a priority for the public authorities. It is enshrined in the 2019 Energy and Climate Act, and the 2020 multi-annual energy plan calls for the development of a French hydrogen industry by 2030-2040. Funding of €7.2 billion between now and 2030 was announced last autumn to finance a "major hydrogen project" as part of the stimulus plan.

However, there are still major economic challenges to be met by the players involved. Establishing a position in this new energy vector for manufacturers already present in traditional energy sources - oil, gas and electricity - requires market anticipation. Accompanying the deployment of this new energy carrier towards highly diversified uses involving specific supply chains represents another major challenge for the development of the industry. Reconfiguring user equipment and investment is a third source of opportunities and challenges.

To discuss these issues, the Governance and Regulation Chair organised an online debate on Thursday 03 June 2021 from 8.30am to 10am. It brought together some of the players involved in the development of the hydrogen sector, who discussed how these challenges affect both industry and public authorities.

Find here the synthesis of the debate

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