100% renewable targets will require power storage to manage flows on the net
Electrolysers utilise these intermittent power flows to produce H2 gas from water
H2 gas can be stored in large quantities underground and transported via existing gas pipelines
H2 vehicles recharge faster and are more durable than battery powered transport
Growing H2 demand in industrial processes will reduce costs and increase supply

On 27 June 2018, the EU Council  endorsed the provisional agreement reached by the Bulgarian Presidency reached with the European Parliament  on 14 June.  The agreement sets a headline target of 32% energy from renewable sources at EU level for 2030. There is a clause to review this target in the event of changes in demand of energy consumption and to take account of the EU’s international obligations. The EU Council (COREPER) on June 21, 2018 included strong statements on its Analysis of the final compromise text with a view to agreement for the REDII in which it made quite strong statements on the important role of regions with regards to engagement of regional players:

(49a) Local and regional authorities often set more ambitious renewable targets in excess of national targets. Regional and local commitments to stimulating development of renewables and energy efficiency are currently supported through networks, such as the Covenant of Mayors, Smart Cities or Smart Communities initiatives, and the development of sustainable energy action plans. Such networks are indispensable and should be expanded, as they raise awareness and facilitate exchanges of best practices and available financial support. In that context, the Commission should also support interested frontrunner regions and local authorities to work across borders by assisting in setting up cooperation mechanisms.

(49c) Other innovative measures to attract more investment into new technologies, such as energy performance contracts and standardisation processes in public financing should also be considered.

(50) When favouring the development of the market for renewable energy sources, it is necessary to take into account the positive impact on regional and local development opportunities, export prospects, social cohesion and employment opportunities, in particular as concerns SMEs and independent energy producers, including renewable self-consumers and renewable energy communities.

Other key elements of the agreement:

  • The design of support schemes: technology specific support, aligned with state aid guidelines. The opening of renewable support towards neighbouring member states will be voluntary, at an aspirational pace of at least 5% between 2023 and 2026 and 10% between 2027 and 2030. Except for certain cases, member states will be obliged to issue guarantees of origin.
  • Permit granting procedures will be simplified and streamlined with a maximum of two years for regular projects and one year in case of repowering, both extendable for an additional year in case of specific circumstances and notwithstanding environmental and judicial procedures. For small-scale projects below 10.8kW simple notification procedures will apply. Each member state may choose to apply simple notification procedures also to projects up to 50kW.
  • The annual increase of energy from renewable sources in heating and cooling will be 1.3 percentage points indicatively, or 1.1 percentage points if waste heat is not taken into account.
  • Via obligations on fuel suppliers, renewables will reach a level of at least 14% in transport by 2030, supplemented by a set of facilitative multipliers to boost renewables in different sectors.
  • Conventional biofuels will be capped EU-wide at a maximum of 7%, with additional member state caps if below 7%. The counting of biofuels with a high risk of indirect land use change (ILUC) will be freezed at 2019 levels and gradually phased out from 2023 towards 2030.
  • For biomass based electricity production, efficiency criteria will be applied according to the size of installations.
  • The directive also establishes a clear and stable framework for household self-consumption. This means that consumers with small-scale installations of up to 30kW will be exempt from any charges or fees, while allowing member states to apply charges if self-consumption grows excessively.

Photo: courtesy ENEL, INGRID Hydrogen storage project (Co-funding EU Horizon programme)