This Friday, the Council and Parliament reached a political agreement on common market rules for renewable gases and hydrogen, allowing Member States to restrict the supply of natural gas, including liquefied gas (LNG), from Russia or Belarus and which also includes the creation of a new European entity for hydrogen network operators (ENNOH, for its acronym in English).
The objective of the agreement reached this Friday is to create a regulatory framework for infrastructure and markets dedicated to hydrogen and integrated network planning, while establishing standards for consumer protection and reinforcing security of supply.
For this purpose, the new hydrogen entity has been created, which will be independent of the European Gas Transmission Network and the European Electricity Transmission Network, although it will take advantage of the synergies and cooperation between the three sectors, as explained by the Parliament and the Council in a joint statement.
“This agreement will bring many benefits for consumers and for our planet,” said the third vice president of the Spanish government and minister for the ecological transition and the demographic challenge, Teresa Ribera, in a statement from the EU Council.
Specifically, he indicated, “it will reduce our use of fossil fuels and reduce our dependence on imported fossil fuels”, while “allowing the transition to renewable energy and strengthening security of supply.”
Another of the agreed points was the expansion of the mechanism for aggregating demand and joint purchasing of gas adopted during the energy crisis, although the participation of gas companies will be completely voluntary.
In this way, gas companies established in Energy Community countries may participate in the mechanism as buyers, excluding supplies from Russia or Belarus.
Furthermore, the Council and Parliament agreed to create a voluntary mechanism to support the development of the hydrogen market, with the aim of facilitating the tasks carried out by the European Commission within the framework of the European Hydrogen Bank.
The Council and Parliament agreed to establish default provisions to operationalize the principle of solidarity in the event of a crisis, when there are no bilateral agreements.
The agreement also includes the establishment of a cross-border conciliation mechanism for a subsequent review of compensation, the voluntary reduction of non-essential consumption by protected customers and safeguards for cross-border flows.
Regarding network tariffs, they agreed that for the hydrogen market each national regulatory authority must consult neighboring national regulatory authorities on the draft tariff methodology and present it to the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER). . . Each national regulatory authority will retain the right to set its own tariff.
Furthermore, at the request of a national regulatory authority, ACER may propose solutions by means of a non-binding factual opinion and will inform the Commission of the result of such a request.
Once it comes into force, following formal ratification by the Council and the European Parliament, the new law will facilitate the penetration into the energy system of renewable and low-carbon gases, in particular hydrogen and biomethane.
THIS Regulation is part of the Hydrogen and Gas Markets Decarbonisation Package, which also includes a Directive, and both are included in the Legislative Package Known as ‘Fit for 55’ to Reduce EU Emissions by At Least 55% by 2030 and its goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050. The Council and Parliament reached a provisional agreement on the Directive on 27 November 2023.