New EU framework to decarbonize fuel markets, promote hydrogen, reduce methane emissions

The European Commission adopted on December 15 a set of legislative proposals to decarbonise the EU fuel market by facilitating the uptake of renewable and low carbon gases, together with hydrogen, and to make sure vitality safety for all residents in Europe. “Europe needs to turn the page on fossil fuels and move to cleaner energy sources,” EU Commission Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans mentioned, including that this consists of changing fossil fuel with renewable and low carbon gases, like hydrogen. “Today, we are proposing the rules to enable this transition and build the necessary markets, networks and infrastructure. To address methane emissions, we are also proposing a solid legal framework to better track and reduce this powerful greenhouse gas, helping us to fulfil the Global Methane Pledge and tackle the climate crisis,” he mentioned.

The Commission can be following up on the EU Methane Strategy and its worldwide commitments with proposals to cut back methane emissions within the vitality sector in Europe and within the international provide chain.

The European Union must decarbonise the vitality it consumes to cut back greenhouse fuel emissions by a minimum of 55% by 2030 and grow to be climate-neutral by 2050, and these proposals will assist to ship that aim, the Commission mentioned.

EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson famous that the proposals offered on December 15 create the circumstances for the inexperienced transition within the EU fuel sector, boosting the usage of clear gases. “A key element of this transition is establishing a competitive hydrogen market with dedicated infrastructure. We want Europe to lead the way and be the first in the world to lay down the market rules for this important source of energy and storage. We are also proposing strict rules on methane emissions from gas, oil and coal, to reduce emissions in these sectors by 80% by 2030 and to trigger action on methane outside the EU,” Simson mentioned. “Our proposals also strengthen the security of gas supply and enhance solidarity between Member States, to counteract price shocks and make our energy system more resilient. As requested by Member States, we improve the EU’s gas storage coordination and create the option for voluntary joint purchase of gas reserves,” she added.

The Commission’s regulation and directive proposals create the circumstances for a shift from fossil pure fuel to renewable and low-carbon gases, particularly biomethane and hydrogen, and strengthen the resilience of the fuel system. One of the primary goals is to determine a marketplace for hydrogen, create the best setting for funding, and allow the event of devoted infrastructure, together with for commerce with third nations. The market rules might be utilized in two phases, earlier than and after 2030, and notably cowl entry to hydrogen infrastructures, separation of hydrogen manufacturing and transport actions, and tariff setting.

A brand new governance construction within the type of the European Network of Network Operators for Hydrogen (ENNOH) might be created to advertise a devoted hydrogen infrastructure, cross-border coordination and interconnector community development, and elaborate on particular technical rules.

The proposal foresees that the nationwide community improvement plans must be based mostly on a joint state of affairs for electrical energy, fuel and hydrogen. It must be aligned with National Energy and Climate Plans, in addition to EU-wide Ten Year Network Development Plan. Gas community operators have to incorporate info on infrastructure that may be decommissioned or repurposed, and there might be separate hydrogen community improvement reporting to make sure that the development of the hydrogen system is predicated on a practical demand projection.

According to the Commission, the brand new rules will make it simpler for renewable and low-carbon gases to entry the present fuel grid, by eradicating tariffs for cross-border interconnections and reducing tariffs at injection factors. They additionally create a certification system for low-carbon gases, to finish the work began within the Renewable Energy Directive with the certification of renewable gases. This will guarantee a degree taking part in discipline in assessing the total greenhouse fuel emissions footprint of various gases and permit Member States to successfully evaluate and think about them of their vitality combine. In order to keep away from locking Europe in with fossil pure fuel and to make extra space for clear gases within the European fuel market, the Commission proposes that long-term contracts for unabated fossil pure fuel shouldn’t be prolonged past 2049.

Another precedence of the package deal is client empowerment and safety. Mirroring the provisions already relevant within the electrical energy market, shoppers might swap suppliers extra simply, use efficient value comparability instruments, get correct, truthful and clear billing info, and have higher entry to information and new sensible expertise. Consumers ought to have the ability to select renewable and low carbon gases over fossil fuels.

Tackling Methane Emissions

In parallel, in a first-ever EU legislative proposal on methane emissions discount within the vitality sector, the Commission mentioned it would require the oil, fuel and coal sectors to measure, report and confirm methane emissions, and proposes strict rules to detect and restore methane leaks and to restrict venting and flaring. It additionally places ahead international monitoring instruments making certain transparency of methane emissions from imports of oil, fuel and coal into the EU, which is able to permit the Commission to contemplate additional actions sooner or later.

The proposal would set up a brand new EU authorized framework to make sure the best normal of measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) of methane emissions. The new rules would require firms to measure and quantify their asset-level methane emissions at supply and perform complete surveys to detect and restore methane leaks of their operations. In addition, the proposal bans venting and flaring practices, which launch methane into the environment, besides in narrowly outlined circumstances.  Member States must also set up mitigation plans, taking into account methane mitigation and measurement of deserted mine methane and inactive wells.

Finally, with respect to the methane emissions of the EU’s vitality imports, the Commission proposed a two-step approach. First, importers of fossil fuels might be required to submit details about how their suppliers carry out measurement, reporting and verification of their emissions and the way they mitigate these emissions. The Commission mentioned it would set up two transparency instruments that may present the efficiency and discount efforts of nations and vitality firms throughout the globe in curbing their methane emissions: a transparency database, the place the information reported by importers and EU operators might be made out there to the general public; and a worldwide monitoring instrument to point out methane emitting hot-spots inside and outdoors the EU, harnessing our world management in environmental monitoring through satellites.

As a second step, to successfully sort out emissions of imported fossil fuels alongside the availability chain to Europe, the Commission will interact in a diplomatic dialogue with our worldwide companions and evaluation the methane regulation by 2025 with a view to introducing extra stringent measures on fossil fuels imports as soon as all information is out there.

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