28 juli 2023

European Hydrogen Valleys, an energy security perspective

Worldwide, hydrogen is considered the answer to climate and energy security challenges. The European Union (EU) regards hydrogen as an effective solution for boosting European energy security. In light of the Russian-Ukraine conflict, the EU has set a target of producing 10 million tonnes of domestic hydrogen to safeguard the European energy supply. In reaching EU objectives Hydrogen Valleys play a vital role. Hydrogen Valleys refer to a locally integrated (green) hydrogen ecosystem encompassing the entire value chain, from generation and storage to utilisation. EU energy policy assigns an important role to Hydrogen Valleys. However, research has not yet been conducted
on the contribution of Hydrogen Valleys to European energy security. Therefore, this thesis examines how Hydrogen Valleys contribute to EU energy security and what the challenges are. To answer the research question, a thorough analysis was conducted, utilising both content analysis and case study analysis. The study investigated two examples of Hydrogen Valleys, the HEAVENN project in the
Northern Netherlands and the HyBalance project in Denmark. The two case studies were analysed using a modified version of the Four A’s Energy Security Framework, called the Renewable Energy- Focused Four As Framework. The Renewable Energy-Focused Four A’s Framework comprises four dimensions (affordability, availability, accessibility and acceptability) and 12 indicators. The research showed that the Danish and Dutch Hydrogen Valleys have the potential to contribute to European energy security, but the current contribution is limited. The green hydrogen generated in the Dutch and Danish Hydrogen Valley faces challenges when it comes to competing with low-cost energy sources and the reliance on raw materials exploiting countries. Furthermore, unclear policies and the environmental impact on mining countries add to the Hydrogen Valleys’ contribution obstacles. The potential of Hydrogen Valleys for energy security is evident in their contribution to Co2 reduction in the respective country and the commitment of the Danish and Dutch governments and the European
Commission to hydrogen, reflected in the development of a wide range of policy options. Further development of unambiguous policies is crucial to address the challenges and fully realize the potential of Hydrogen Valleys in contributing to European energy security.

Read the Master Thesis of Anniek Reitsma: European Hydrogen Valleys_an energy security perspective