Green Hydrogen: the energy transition in Austria

Green Hydrogen: the energy transition in Austria

In a discussion about hydrogen organised by Oesterreichs Energie (OE) last week, Dr Christoph Gatzen, Associate Director at Frontier, looked into the options of using hydrogen for the green energy transition in Austria.

The discussion was opened by Barbara Schmidt, Secretary General at Oesterreichs Energie, who described the current situation in Austria as having started off well in 2018, with the launch of the European Hydrogen Initiative during Austria’s EU Council Presidency. However, more recently, things had started to slow down. It’s important that Austria continues to strive to integrate hydrogen into its energy system, to ensure security of supply, especially due to long investment cycles.  

Three fields to use hydrogen

Michael Strugl, President at OE gave his insights on how hydrogen should be used, highlighting the three main fields where hydrogen should be applied in future:

  • Seasonal green power storage
  • Climate-neutral thermal power stations
  • Using hydrogen as an electrolyser to balance short-term imbalances in power supply and consumption.

Mr Struglindicated that a successful energy transition in Austria required intensified sector coupling between the power and gas sectors. It is also essential to finance hydrogen supply in a similar manner to wind energy and photovoltaics.

Essential pillars for the use of hydrogen

Our recent study, conducted on behalf of Oesterreichs Energie  supports the views above In addition to the decarbonisation of certain economic sectors, our study identifies seasonal energy shifts and the maintenance of security of supply as the three essential pillars for the use of hydrogen.

Today, about 70% of Austria’s primary energy demand is imported and despite the planned increase of renewable electricity of + 27 TWh/a by 2030 additional green energy will be needed – in the form of imported green molecules.

A quick ramp up of the necessary infrastructure and a clear regulatory framework for a hydrogen economy are needed to integrate hydrogen production and consumption technologies in the energy supply grids and create a level playing field.

Christoph Gatzen notes: “A broader thinking about the overall and interlinked energy system including green electrons, green gases and green liquids as well as the corresponding infrastructure is needed. A clear CO2-price signal and a movement away from too “per kWh” focussed tariff schemes (taxes, levies and to some extent also grid fees) would also be more than helpful”.

Click here to view the discussion video.

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