On 15 January the EVERYWH2ERE project carried out a workshop “Upscaling Hydrogen Gensets in European Cities” in Brussels back-to-back with a meeting of the FCH JU’s Regions & Cities Initiative.
The workshop, moderated by city network and EVERYWH2ERE partner ICLEI Europe explored the necessary regulatory framework for enabling an uptake of hydrogen-based generator sets (gensets) in cities for use in temporary events such as construction sites, music festivals and other public events. Not only have participants been able to reflect on their local circumstances in relation to other regions and cities, a keynote by the European Commission’s Vicente Franco of DG Environment has put hydrogen gensets in context with EU Clean Air Policy and highlighted the importance of strong cooperation across all levels of government and the scientific and industrial community. Mr. Franco set the stage for the workshop by giving an optimistic outlook for already decreasing emissions from conventional generator sets due to stricter European standards and encourages to go the extra mile:
“If we can have zero-emission hydrogen-gensets, we will gladly support your work”
Panellists from the city of Oslo (NO), DG ENVE, Hydrogen Europe and the Region of Aragon (ES) concluded on the EVERYWH2ERE hydrogen gensets as a highly interesting option for cities, regions and companies alike to reduce their emissions despite the higher initial investment costs. Next to operating zero-emission and zero-noise, the gensets are a quick to implement technology with high public visibility specifically useful for showcasing local and regional sustainability ambitions.
Local and regional regulation, such as public tendering and procurement, are a powerful tool to accelerate the transition to non-diesel generator sets. This can be seen in Oslo where the city motivates the construction sector to apply zero-emission solutions, but also encourages other cities through international city networks such as ICLEI. By implementing beneficial policies and by establishing clear targets regarding air quality and emission reduction, cities are providing signals to the private sector that clean solutions are encouraged and that the necessary regulation will be in place. This is especially important considering the initial higher investment cost of hydrogen gensets compared to diesel-based generators. Political vision therefore prepares and incentivises investment.
However, it might not always be a matter of incentivising the private sector as existing red tape and complicated permitting procedures are often hindering efficient installations of hydrogen-based technologies in the city area. A lack of finance and capacity often stands in the way of local and regional authorities acting as a facilitator and for bringing different stakeholders together. The importance of facilitation was demonstrated by the example of the Aragon Hydrogen Foundation which has been set up by the regional government and brings together more than 70 members key to the regional economy ranging from industry, consulting, public administrations and associations to promote the use of hydrogen on a regional level and to provide policy and technological solutions alike.
Call to Action: Regions & Cities Interest Group
Workshop attendees agreed that now, following this workshop, demonstration of hydrogen gensets in European cities is of utmost importance. The EVERYWH2ERE project looks forward to working together with Regions and Cities in providing four 25kW and four 100kW gensets to organizers of temporary events in coordination with the local and regional authorities. Next to directly showcasing the benefits of the gensets important lessons and policy recommendations will be generated and shared. In order to explore the context-specific framework conditions for hosting hydrogen gensets, local and regional authorities are invited to become part of the EVERYWH2ERE Regions & Cities Interest Group.
For more information and to join the Interest Group, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org 7