IRENA and Partners Urge Closer International Collaboration to Ramp Up Green Hydrogen

Hydrogen is experiencing unprecedented momentum and given the current geopolitical turmoil leading to severe risks for global energy security, the need to accelerate its development has become even more important. This was recognised by the German G7 presidency who announced, in the ‘G7 Hydrogen Action Pact” earlier this year, the need for strengthened collaboration between G7 members on the development of green and low carbon hydrogen value chains.

“The G7 group of countries have a tremendous opportunity and are well placed to play a leading role in accelerating the development of a global hydrogen market” said Barbara Jinks, Programme Officer – Green Gas Delivery and Use of the International renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), at the Global Clean Energy Action Forum (GCEAF) in Pittsburgh, US, last month.

Speaking at a side event titled, ‘G7 Hydrogen Action Pact – Facilitating and Accelerating PtX-Market Ramp-up,’ Ms. Jinks underscored the importance of closer collaboration between countries to develop common policy and regulatory frameworks to work collectively to ramp-up global hydrogen markets. The side event was co-organised by IRENA, the PTX Hub and the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE). Together, the partners represent over 168 IRENA members.

Ms. Jinks explained; “IRENA has been supporting the German G7 presidency to develop the scope of the Pact and the actions needed by G7 members to fulfill the Pact’s aims. With our partners, we conducted an analyses of hydrogen diplomacy, demand creation, industrial policy, innovation, global hydrogen standards and certification. The Agency also identified five urgent and high impact priorities for strengthened collaboration and action.”

Recommendations for action include aligning efforts on standards and certification, close collaboration for information exchange and lessons learned, balancing hydrogen supply and demand, promoting hydrogen uptake in the hydrogen sector, and conducting outreach to stakeholders on the priority uses for low carbon and green hydrogen.

The work was conducted using IRENA’s knowledge on hydrogen production, trade and end-use, as well as the key enabling measures that are needed to be put in place by policy makers, captured in the Enabling Measures Roadmaps for Green Hydrogen, created jointly with the World Economic Forum and launched at COP26 in Glasgow last year.

One of IRENA’s key recommendations is to use hydrogen to decarbonise the hard-to-abate sectors. Nancy Gillis, Programme Head, Climate Action & First Movers Coalition, who also spoke in the panel said hydrogen can be a low-carbon energy carrier of the future in sectors that are not suitable for electrification. “We need hydrogen if we are to achieve deep decarbonisation of the energy system. There is a great potential in the hard-to-abate sectors such as industry, long range transport and shipping,” Ms. Gills said.

To facilitate the start of the green hydrogen industry and its international market ramp-up, the German government established the H2Global Foundation in June 2021, an auction-based mechanism that will enable the sale and import of green hydrogen or other renewable energy conversion products under long-term contracts in Germany and Europe.