Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, and Poland have struck a historic green deal for their various gas transmission system operators (TSOs) to develop the region’s hydrogen grid and team up on decarbonising. Romanian TSO Transgaz struck up the idea and approached Poland’s Gaz-System, Slovakia’s Eustream and Hungary’s FGSZ. The four TSOs have already signed the memorandum of understanding and are said to be looking at getting others in the region involved too.
The deal will involve sharing best practices in hydrogen, production, CO2 transportation and the decarbonisation of operations.
A Eustream press release reads: “The Memorandum of Understanding greatly supports all initiatives that foster the development of the hydrogen value chain in the Central European region and bring attention to regional characteristics for a uniform evolution of the hydrogen grid in the European Union.”
Hydrogen is viewed as green technology which can be used as an alternative to oil and gas to provide low carbon power.
The energy source is expected to play a key role in helping the EU slash carbon emissions by 55 percent by 2035.
As part of the EU Hydrogen Strategy, the aim is to decarbonise hydrogen production so its use can be expanded in sectors where it can replace fossil fuels.
The EU Hydrogen Strategy’s definition of green hydrogen explains that it is “hydrogen produced through the electrolysis of water (in an electrolyser, powered by electricity), and with the electricity stemming from renewable sources.”
It adds: “The full life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of the production of renewable hydrogen are close to zero.”
The move to step up and start putting the strategy into action by these four countries comes as the bloc is still arguing over the rollout of its green plans.
It also follows intense scrutiny for still handing Putin billions for oil and gas, despite releasing a blueprint to slash these imports by two thirds by the end of the year.
The EU imported a staggering €48.5billion (£38billion) of crude oil in 2021, and €22.5billion (£19billion) of petroleum oils other than crude.
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It also handed Russia €16.3billion (£13.5billion) for gas in 2021, depending on the fossil fuel for 45 percent of its total supplies.
But REPowerEU, the bloc’s new energy strategy published last month, explains how it can slash dependence on Putin by diversifying its energy sources, including boosting its renewable capacity with technologies like hydrogen.
Despite this, the bloc is yet to slap an immediate ban on Russian oil and gas, even when pleaded to do so by the European Parliament.
It was expected that the EU would go tougher on Putin in a fifth round of sanctions following alleged war crimes committed by Russian troops in Bucha surfacing.
But the bloc only managed to buck up enough courage to ban coal, the cheapest of Putin’s hydrocarbons, costing the EU €5billion (£4billion) last year.
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Poland, one of the countries that is part of the new hydrogen deal, has grown increasingly frustrated with Germany for hamstringing a tough response to Putin.
German Finance Minister Christian Lindner rejected an EU embargo on gas earlier this month.
Mr Lindner said in Brussels: “It is clear we must end as quickly as possible all economic ties to Russia.
“We must plan tough sanctions, but gas cannot be substituted in the short term. We would inflict more damage on ourselves than on them.”
Whereas Poland has put forward the most “radical” plan to ban all of Russia’s fossil fuel imports.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has stressed the need to move away from “Russian hydrocarbons – Russian oil, Russian gas and Russian coal” and has called Germany the “main roadblock to sanctions”.