Seven nations protest the EU renewables law’s ban on nuclear-derived hydrogen

The EU’s green transportation goals have been rejected by a group of seven nations led by Germany, reigniting a debate with France that has prevented an agreement on the bloc’s renewable energy policy. The seven nations reaffirm their opposition to incorporating nuclear power in determining green transportation fuel targets in a letter to the European Commission. The letter, dated March 16 and signed by Austria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Spain, states that “we share the view that the production and use of low-carbon hydrogen and low-carbon fuels should not be incentivized through a directive on the development of renewable energy.”

The renewables directive’s green transportation goals for nuclear-derived fuels should be waived, according to France and eight other EU nations. This would be accomplished in practice by excluding those from the denominator used to determine binding targets for green transportation fuels. According to Paris, the action is meant to ensure that electrolysers installed in Europe may operate at their full potential by utilizing both nuclear and renewable electricity sources rather than to restrict the potential of renewable hydrogen.

Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia are members of this pro-nuclear alliance. Low-carbon fuels should not be included in the renewable energy directive, according to the seven EU nations, “particularly by calculating them towards the overall 2030 or any sectoral renewable energy targets or removing them from the denominator.” The relationship between low-carbon fuels and [renewable energy] targets under Article 8a of the Gas Directive, which is favored by France and the other pro-nuclear nations, is also explicitly opposed by them.

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The renewable energy directive “does not prevent or prohibit Member States from using other low-carbon hydrogen and low-carbon fuels,” the seven countries contend, adding that counting low-carbon energy towards renewable targets “would rather reduce our climate efforts and slow down investment in the much-needed additional renewable capacity.” The seven countries acknowledge that nuclear-derived hydrogen “may play a role in some member states” and that “a clear regulatory framework for t However, they contend that this has to be addressed as part of the ongoing rewriting of EU gas legislation.

In addition to renewable energy, France has advocated for the European Union to acknowledge nuclear power as a low-carbon energy source. Paris and 10 other EU members earlier this month formed a “nuclear alliance” with the goal of enhancing cooperation throughout the whole nuclear supply chain and advancing “shared industrial projects” in new generation capacity. Germany first rejected the campaign but appeared to give in two weeks ago, declaring it wouldn’t block proposals to acknowledge nuclear power’s contribution to the EU’s decarbonization ambitions. The definition of renewable hydrogen in the EU’s green transportation targets is now holding up the renewable energy regulation.