The fight over nuclear-produced (or “pink”) hydrogen is taking place within the Renewable Energy Directives II (“RED II,” the currently applicable legal framework), and RED III (the future legal framework). On RED II, the European Commission has defined what counts as renewable hydrogen (technically “renewable liquid and gaseous transport fuels of non-biological origin” or RFNBOs) in a Delegated Act on February 10, 2023. Hydrogen which falls within the definition counts for meeting a quota (that obliges fuel suppliers to ensure that the share of renewable energy used in final consumption in the transport sector is at least 14%).
The Delegated Act provides that hydrogen produced with electricity taken from the grid in a low-carbon bidding zone is deemed “renewable.” Hence hydrogen produced in areas with a large proportion of nuclear energy would count towards meeting to quote, given nuclear energy’s low CO2 production. See further in the Blog Posts below.
At the time of writing, France blocked the formal adoption of the RED III Directive after a political agreement had been reached, reportedly to obtain additional concessions on nuclear energy’s role. The political compromise had included a marginal role for pink hydrogen, which additionally was reported only to benefit countries that had a large nuclear part in their energy mixes (i.e., France and Sweden).