ECR member and regional minister of the Drenthe Province in Northern Netherlands Tjisse Stelpstra was invited to speak about the regional importance of hydrogen in the EU at an event in the framework of the EU Sustainable Energy Week organised by the European Commission.
Mr Stelpstra began by informing participants about the European Hydrogen Valleys Partnership: "We are Europe’s main partnership that build regional hydrogen ecosystems and stimulate the use of hydrogen in various applications, from transport to industry. We started in 2019 with 20 regions and now we have grown into a partnership of more than 50 regions and we are still growing. We have members from Bulgaria to Norway and Portugal, making it a true European endeavor!".
Speaking about the importance of collaboration of regions at European level, including the exchange of knowledge and the setting up of joint projects, Mr Stelpstra emphasized that such cooperation would contribute to the creation of a modern, clean hydrogen economy for Europe: "only collectively can we reach the critical mass needed to make hydrogen economically viable".
In his own region in the Northern Netherlands efforts are well underway to unlocking the important role of green hydrogen as a sustainable energy carrier – "a lot of work is already being done on substantial emission reductions and the necessary upscaling of green hydrogen". Mr Stelpstra cited the example of H2 Energy Applications in Valley Environments for Northern Netherlands (HEAVENN), which is large-scale project aimed at sectoral integration in Groningen and Drenthe with green hydrogen.
The main driver in kick-starting a hydrogen economy according to Tjisse Stelpstra is two-folded with funding being one element and political urgency the other. "We need political will to formulate an ambition and remove any obstacles in its way, and funding to incentivize players and to develop new markets".
Under the theme "Towards 2030: Reshaping the European Energy System", the 16th edition of the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) took place from 25 to 29 October and brought together public authorities, private companies, NGOs and consumers to promote initiatives to save energy and move towards renewables for clean, secure and efficient power.