In the opening session of the INL Hydrogen Summit, on October 28, Hélène Chraye, the Clean Energy Transition Head of Unit at DG Research and Innovation (EU Commission) expressed her concerns about Europe’s need to regain relevant activities that have been consistently relocated over the years. “One of the lessons of the current crisis is that Europe has let gone out a lot of critical steps of the value chain. I do not insist on having a ‘fortress-Europe’, we are working a lot in collaboration, especially in research and innovation. Nevertheless, some parts of the value chain should be brought back to Europe”.
Hélène Chraye admits that “success requires a lot of investment” assuring, however, that it will pay off. “The investments that we will make in the next two years will have an impact in the next three decades”, adding that “we need a strategic approach to hydrogen and we need to ramp up and deploy quickly. And we need to do so because we cannot rely upon imports”.
The level of ambition set by the EU Commission is reflected in the package announced the last 8th of July, “which includes a full chapter on Research and Innovation. Both have delivered a lot in the past but now they have to deliver even more” added the EU representative.
“We must invest in our future”
Hélène Chraye also acknowledged there are concerns about the priority given to this topic during a pandemic. “Some people ask why are we investing in clean energy while people are suffering and dying. Of course, we are also focusing on health but we also have to focus on our common future”.
Regarding the member-states strategies for hydrogen, Hélène Chraye welcomed the official plans for creating a generation plant in Portugal, joining the moves already made by France, Germany, and the Netherlands, also underlining that “hydrogen is one of the major priorities of the current German presidency of the EU”.
In the end, the director for the European clean energy strategy stressed that “we have to intensify our efforts in the transport sector because the emissions of greenhouse generating gases are not decreasing at the pace we need. This challenge cannot be reached without a huge public and private investment and we need to be sure that this investment is targeted in the right direction”.
We take this opportunity to share with you the recordings of Day 1 and Day 2 of the Summit here: