As the world begins to emerge from the shadow which the pandemic has cast over it, focus will turn to global economic recovery. It is already apparent that many of the world’s leading economies see investment in green energy as a key component of their strategy to revive and revitalize their economy. It is a fiscal strategy which also sits comfortably with their commitment to take active steps to address climate change and to build towards a more sustainable future.
It is in that context that hydrogen will have a valuable role to play, with perhaps the biggest question being whether it will dominate major economies or merely fill in gaps as part of a broader and more varied energy portfolio.
Hydrogen, and its use as an energy supply, is not a new phenomenon. Its unique qualities as an energy source and fuel because of its high energy content per unit of weight has long been recognized. Indeed, demand has grown significantly and consistently since 1975, and that is expected to continue. What is new is the perfect storm of that increasing demand, improved technology to generate clean (or cleaner) hydrogen than traditional methods of hydrogen production (which have a significant emissions profile), decreasing production costs and the broader prioritization being given to decarbonization.
That perfect storm gives rise to an incredible opportunity, across a range of sectors (most notably energy intensive, high emission industries) and geographies for energy players and investors.
In this publication we analyse, with the benefit of commentary from both key individuals in the space and DLA Piper lawyers, how the hydrogen market is developing, and the approach that is being taken in key jurisdictions. In particular, we look at developments in Europe, the UK, Germany, the Middle East and North Africa. Those diverse geographies are linked by their existing commitment to hydrogen and the work that is being done there in recognition of its future potential. All shine a light on the scale of the opportunity which clean hydrogen presents.
A solid uptake of hydrogen across a number of applications could see it accounting for around a quarter of total energy supply by 2050, providing more than five million jobs across the globe. With the number of projects and policies within the energy space growing, coordinating intervention across the piece – from policy and regulation, to the role played by the private sector – will be essential to ensure a smooth journey towards sector maturity. We hope that this report provides useful insight into the point that has been reached on that journey, where the journey is going, and what its ultimate destination may be.