A Dialogue Between EU and Gulf Cooperation Council on a Regulatory Framework to Develop Green Hydrogen Supply, Demand and Trade

In countries with abundant renewable energy resources, such as those in the Gulf Cooperation Council with particularly low renewable electricity prices, green hydrogen may emerge as a key enabler of the energy transition. This is because it offers, together with direct electrification, a way to contribute to countries’ energy security. Countries can use their own renewable resources to produce green hydrogen for domestic consumption, while also sparing green hydrogen for export, improving the resilience of their energy systems and reaching the fringes of the energy systems. Crucially, with international cooperation, the emerging hydrogen market has the potential to be both decentralised and inclusive, with opportunities for countries at different stages of the energy transition alike.

The European Union (EU) hydrogen strategy aims to develop an integrated hydrogen value chain. With the Fit for 55 package, the European Commission has proposed a regulatory framework and governance system to facilitate trade in hydrogen and its derivatives. It recognises that not all its member states are equally endowed with renewable energy resources. This may necessitate international trade and a market for green hydrogen, particularly between EU member states and countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

IRENA, the EU and the PtX Hub collaborated on a series of workshops that serve to enhance the dialogue over the challenges and policy measures needed to develop green hydrogen, as well as support the development of a related global regulatory framework. The first workshop, on 13 October 2021, covered the North African context.

The workshops fit within the scope of the IRENA Collaborative Framework on Green Hydrogen (CFGH), co-chaired by the European Commission and Morocco. The CFGH serves as a platform to enhance the dialogue over the challenges for both policy makers and private industry to develop green hydrogen. Four meetings of the CFGH country members have been held to date. The most recent meeting was held on 4 November 2021 that focused on the key enabling measures that are needed to scale up green hydrogen production and infrastructure, develop common global principles for standardisation and certification, stimulate demand from the hard-to-abate sectors and maintain industrial competitiveness, whilst creating export opportunities. In addition, the joint Enabling Measures workshop with the World Economic Forum has been held on 22 January 2022 that facilitated collaboration between IRENA members and the private sector. The EU participated in these two events in its capacity as co-chair of the CFGH.

Aims of the workshop:

  • Discuss the most conducive regulatory framework to develop green hydrogen across the whole value chain and facilitate trade between the EU and MENA regions (baseline: EU policy framework: EU hydrogen strategy and Fit for 55 package, including the framework to decarbonise gas markets, promote hydrogen and reduce methane emissions and the delegated act on sustainability criteria (including additionality).
  • Deepen the CFGH activities with the private sector to enable country representatives to better understand the short-term needs of industry.

The event gathered participants from government institutions, private sector representatives, development partners, academia and non-governmental organisations.