Regions point to green hydrogen as strategic

ORU Fogar together with the International Association of Francophone Regions (AIRF) and Regions4 are preparing a Side-Event entitled "Regions and the Hydrogen Economy" to be held at COP27, to be held in Egypt next November. In this event is already committed the presence of the president of ORU Fogar and president of the Rabat Salé Kénitra Regional Council, Rachid El Abdi, as well as the vice president, president of the AIRF and the Regional Council of Auvergne Rhône Alpes, Laurent Wauquiez. Various experiences and plans will also be presented from regions that are working on the hydrogen economy, such as Catalonia, the Basque Country and the State of Paraná (Brazil).

The first question many people will ask is: hydrogen? Hydrogen as fuel? Hydrogen is a universal, lightweight and highly reactive fuel. It is achieved through the chemical process known as electrolysis. This method uses electrical current to separate hydrogen from oxygen in water. If that electricity is obtained from renewable sources, energy would be produced without emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and we will talk about green hydrogen. Thus, liquid hydrogen can replace fuels such as gasoline and diesel. It must be a very important support for mobility and, because of the cost of its current production, it is considered in the first instance as the fuel of aeroplanes.

The Hydrogen Economy aims at a model of production with clean energy that would create a new industrial ecosystem conducive to economic development. With the adoption of this alternative, it is estimated that in the coming decades up to 34% of global greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and industry will be reduced. Turning the hydrogen economy into reality, however, requires a strong economic, regulatory and mindset change.

And why are the regions targeting hydrogen? If climate change was not enough, the war in Ukraine, showing the dependence of so many countries on oil and gas, has highlighted the need to accelerate the energy transition. When the deployment of renewable energy does not advance at the expected pace and when greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere continue to grow, regional governments want to claim their role in the energy transition, as territorial governments. And they want to do this by pointing out that they can not only contribute with a bet in favor of renewable energies, also betting on the production of a green hydrogen that, today, is presented as the culmination of this energy transition. 

And another question that must be formulated, what role should regional governments have in this energy transition? If the bet as a transition fuel is gas, regional governments must ensure that it reaches all corners of the territory. But, as territorial and local governments, regional governments are, can and should be key in the deployment of all renewable energies. It is for this reason that the networks of regions involved in environmental issues and the fight against climate change already point to the hydrogen economy. 

Among the international references of the Hydrogen Economy is the government of South Korea, who in 2019 published its "Roadmap of the hydrogen economy". This document serves as a guide for the future transition to a society that uses hydrogen as an energy source for mobility and power generation. But at the regional level, it is worth highlighting the work done by the Basque Country, which, beyond the industrial bet in favor of electrolysis, presented its Basque Hydrogen Strategy. This aims to establish the conditions for the production of renewable hydrogen, its storage, transport and distribution in the local market and, at the same time, to serve as a basis for establishing a logistics center with relevance in the international market. Catalonia is promoting the "Hydrogen Valley" in support of its industrial sector. Meanwhile, the State of Paraná, supported by the powerful hydroelectric force of the Paraná and its tributaries, poses the most decisive bet of Latin America in favor of hydrogen.

 

 

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