As July rained by in Brussels, strays of hydrogen appearances in EU dossiers  pointed to increasing expectations on the development of clean hydrogen production and distribution networks that offer solutions for Europe’s increasing energy storage and emission reduction challenges . The Smart Cities and Communities (SCC) Communication that was presented on July 2012 in Brussels, is dedicated “to demonstrating commercial-scale solutions in a small number flocations, thus supporting European cities and communities to meet their commitments in the fields of energy, transport, air quality or climate change mitigation.”

Hydrogen is mentioned under one of the Cross Cutting themes , “Sustainable Urban mobility: “Using hydrogen as an energy carrier for storing energy and balancing demand at city  level for energy and stationary power – controlled by ICT using forecasts for demand patterns based on weather forecasts, event planning, vehicle route patterns, etc. “.

The EHA understands that an internal paper of the Commission on energy storage lists hydrogen as a cost effective solution in the longer term.

However as the first fuel cell vehicles are put on extensive European roadshows (Oslo- Monte Carlo last spring and  Oslo – Paris this September ), support for the development of the  first large scale hydrogen infrastructure lighthouse projects, linking the 50 stations that are planned in Germany with a broader network in Europe,  is needed now. Therefore  demand side measures as mentioned in the SCC communication such as developing new business models, fostering  procurements of innovative solutions, setting new standards or improving regulatory  frameworks remain urgent to create a confident investor climate.

According to the SCC communication the next EU Multiannual  Financial Framework funding opportunities,  including Horizon 2020 will focus on facilitating larger EU lighthouse  projects, linkages with other  national and municipal programmes and the development of demand side measures. It looks like the hydrogen sector will need to store a lot of creative energy this summer to confront a long hot autumn of input to ensure effective EU policy frameworks. Happy holidays from the EHA team in Brussels!