Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) have reached an informal agreement to promote the adoption of renewable and low-carbon gases like hydrogen, within the EU’s gas market.
This move is aimed at both decarbonizing the gas sector and ensuring a secure supply, addressing climate change concerns and mitigating disruptions caused by Russian aggression in Ukraine, according to a statement by the European Parliament earlier this month.
During negotiations, MEPs successfully secured provisions allowing member states to restrict imports of gas from Russia and Belarus, whether through pipelines or liquefied natural gas (LNG).
The European Parliament has been advocating for a complete ban on energy imports from Russia since April 2022, following the country’s aggression towards Ukraine.
Notably, the recent agreement includes measures to establish a joint purchasing system for gas, preventing member states from competing against each other when bidding for gas, especially for strategic reserves.
Additionally, a voluntary system supporting hydrogen market development was introduced as a pilot project for five years.
MEPs emphasized the need to boost investment in new hydrogen infrastructure, particularly in coal regions, to facilitate a just transition and incentivize the adoption of biomethane, green, and low-carbon hydrogen by producers and consumers.
The new legislation outlines that hydrogen transmission network operators will cooperate at the EU level through the European Network of Network Operators for Hydrogen (ENNOH).
MEPs secured a commitment to assess the integration of hydrogen, electricity, and gas sectors more effectively by the end of 2029.
“After two years of intensive work on the Package, we have reached a historic agreement. The compromise reached by the three co-legislators transforms the current energy market into one based primarily on two sources – green electricity and green gases,” lead MEP Jerzy Buzek said in a comment.
The proposed gas market regulation, part of a broader package including a new directive announced on November 27, now awaits endorsement by the Parliament and Council before becoming law.
The Industry, Research and Energy Committee is expected to vote on the agreed text in January 2024, reflecting the EU’s commitment to ambitious climate goals and global competitiveness.