💦⚡️💚 Green hydrogen is ‘booming’. As the missing link in the energy transition and in the transition to sustainable industry. But how do we make hydrogen ‘big’ and make sure that everyone benefits? Read my voyage of discovery here👇 💚🌍
👩💻 Blog 8: Bold and ambitious 👉 SDG-proof hydrogen
Sometimes a crisis can contribute to awareness that drastic change is required. The earthquakes resulting from the gas production process resulted in the various parties in Groningen quickly joining forces to produce large volumes of sustainable energy, for example. This summer, exceptional forest fires and mass flooding in unexpected locations were a clear sign that a much greater crisis is at hand: the climate crisis. Scientific proof was provided in the recent IPCC report: “Further emission of greenhouse gases will cause further global warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limitation of climate change will require a considerable and persistent reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases.” There is evidence of the influence of human activity on rapid climate change, causing rising ocean levels, heat, drought and greater numbers of cyclones.
This crisis should also prompt us to undertake drastic change. It is up to us to quite literally turn the tide. We can only do so if we make a concerted effort, we reduce our energy consumption and we accelerate the transition to a low-CO2 energy system. Since the province of Groningen has accelerated efforts to bid farewell to fossil energy sources and switch to solar and wind energy, we are now aware of what is needed to also render the heavy mobility and industrial sectors sustainable: hydrogen. We are now an official European Hydrogen Valley, and are working on an international hydrogen economy. As a trendsetter, we have learned that hydrogen is the essential link in a new energy system.
IEA foresees major role for hydrogen
Last spring, I awaited the report titled ‘A Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050’ published by the International Energy Agency, with bated breath. Would this leading intergovernmental energy agency also recognise hydrogen as the missing link in the new system? The report was presented on 18 May and yes indeed: the IEA also believes hydrogen to play a major role in the net-zero energy system! This is foreseen in large volumes of global trade, exported from countries producing ample sustainable energy, to massive distribution centres in Europe and Asia, for example. A logical yet interesting point is that the IEA believes the limited sustainable energy production to be a bottleneck in the hydrogen economy. The IEA confers that we do indeed need a great deal more sustainable energy worldwide. And particularly also quickly, in order that it can then be transported to those locations where it is necessary, in the form of hydrogen.
Beneficial for the region
In the province of Groningen, we have made plenty of room for the production of green energy in solar parks and wind parks, over the past few years. This process has taught us that such parks can best be developed together with the region itself. Create win-win situations by allowing local residents and companies to share the benefits, for example. This results in better support and in the end more sustainable energy. If environmental targets are to be met, it is essential that the areas housing solar parks and wind parks share in the profits of energy produced there and sold on, whether or not this is in the form of hydrogen.
In this year of crises, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) is to be held in Glasgow from early November. There, all cooperating countries will discuss the further global developments required to achieve the environmental targets. I have always been a trusty follower of the UN. As a teenager, I was already involved in ‘The Hague International Model United Nations’. Following my recent dialogues with UN staff, I became aware that the UN was the ideal location to arrive at international agreements on the preconditions for fair production of hydrogen, i.e. the purpose of my lengthy voyage of discovery.
Groningen Principles and the UN
The climate crisis is forcing us to turn the tide now and to accelerate the energy transition. A hydrogen economy is a crucial component in that development. But it must be a fair hydrogen economy, which also benefits local communities. A hydrogen economy which contributes to a new and social energy system. In an effort to bring that forward, I have produced a text which I wish to introduce to the UN on the road to COP26. A text which features all the ideas I gained during my voyage of discovery over the past months. Based on the Groningen Principles, as described in my previous blog. A text designed to prompt the discussion regarding a ‘fair and SDG-proof green hydrogen economy’. Which results in added support for global production of sustainable energy and accelerated energy transition.
Yes, it’s ambitious to also want to achieve a social transition within the energy transition, but to quote UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres: “Be bold and ambitious.” I hope to gather as much support as possible for my ideas on a fair and social hydrogen economy. So that we can reach binding international agreements on this subject. Please contribute by giving thought to my text below and letting me know about any ideas. The final text must attract broad support both at home and abroad. For the climate and for social justice. I look forward to your reaction!
“Green hydrogen contributing to a fair energy system and the SDGs by applying the Groningen Principles
Solar farms and wind farms used for the production of green hydrogen all around the world, share their benefits with local communities by filling local funds used to finance projects that contribute to the SDGs.
Besides contributing to a sustainable energy system, green hydrogen can also change the social system linked to the presence of energy and the profits of energy.
Now, at the start of a new green hydrogen system, it is time to set the standard for an international energy system that contributes to all involved, by following the Groningen Principles: owners of solar farms and wind farms, used for the production of green hydrogen, structurally invest in local funds used for projects contributing to the sustainable development goals, such as energy for all (SDG 7).”