(Montel) The EU was set to miss REPowerEU’s 2030 green hydrogen target by a half, the International Energy Agency said on Thursday.
The projection for installed capacity is currently at 39 GW by the turn of the decade, whereas the EU’s plan released earlier this year set a target of 80 GW by 2030, said the IEA.
This brought Europe close to meeting the 44 GW target outlined by the European Commission’s Fit for 55 plan released in 2021 but “meeting the more ambitious level requires further progress on electrolyser capacity additions”, said the Paris-based agency in its annual global hydrogen review.
One-third of the global electrolyser capacity to develop low-carbon hydrogen will come from Europe in 2022 – second only to China, said the IEA, with this percentage expected to remain at the same level by 2030.
The IEA expected 2022 global electrolyser capacity to reach 1.4 GW, almost triple the 2021 level. Based on the current project pipeline, it could jump to 134 GW by 2030, compared with the 54 GW estimated by the IEA in its 2021 report.
Scaling up capacity
The advance to commercial-sale projects was key to the expected uptake in electrolyser capacity, said the report.
In 2021, the average plant size of new electrolysers stood at 5 MW, while the size of new plants could reach 260 MW in 2025 and in the GW range by 2030, the IEA said.
Hydrogen demand has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, reaching 94m tonnes in 2021 compared with 91m tonnes in 2019, said the report.
The IEA estimated that demand for hydrogen could reach 115m tonnes by 2030. But that would fall short of the 130m tonnes needed to meet existing global climate pledges and well short of the 200m tonnes needed by 2030 to be on track for net zero emissions by 2050, it added.
Costs for electrolysers could fall by 70% by 2030, which combined with the expected drop in the cost of renewable energy, could bring the cost of green hydrogen to a range of USD 1.3-4.5/kg, equivalent to USD 39-135/MWh, it noted. This would make it competitive with hydrogen from fossil fuels.
In addition, repurposing natural gas pipelines for the transmission of hydrogen could cut investment costs by 50-80%, relative to the development of new pipelines, it said.