Wind power and hydrogen, a partnership for success?

FuturENERGY February-March 2021

Eólica e hidrógeno, ¿tándem de éxito?

The year has started with news of the launch of several projects that set out to maximise the synergies between wind power, in particular, offshore wind, and hydrogen. Particularly interesting is the fact that several Spanish initiatives are included in these projects which, thanks to some of the most powerful energy companies in the country, aim to position Spain at the forefront of the green hydrogen business.

The following articles contain a brief overview of some of the most interesting projects in this field, however it is worth first considering the factors that are driving these wind power and hydrogen projects, and what the near future holds.

Around 80 million tonnes of hydrogen are currently produced every year worldwide and its demand is expected to grow some 20 million tonnes by 2030. At present, barely 1% of all that hydrogen is produced from renewable sources. The vast majority is produced from coal and natural gas, generating CO2 emissions of 830 Mt/year.

In Europe, hydrogen represents less than 2% of energy consumption today and is mainly used to produce chemical products, such as plastics and fertilisers. 96% of this hydrogen production is produced with natural gas, emitting significant amounts of CO2 in the process.

Both the European Union and the Spanish Government have already taken the first steps to include green hydrogen in their respective energy agendas. Announced in July last year, the EU’s Hydrogen Strategy sets out a phased approach, in which the first phase (2020-2024) commits to the installation of at least 6 GW of renewable hydrogen electrolysers and the production of 1 Mt by 2024. From 2025 to 2030, hydrogen must become an intrinsic part of the EU’s energy system, with at least 40 GW of renewable hydrogen electrolysers and production of up to 10 Mt of hydrogen across the Union. In the next phase, to 2050, renewable hydrogen technologies are expected to achieve maturity and be deployed at utility-scale in every hard-todecarbonise sector