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Strategic Policy Targets and the Contribution of Hydrogen in a 100% Renewable European Power System


The goal of the European energy policy is to achieve climate neutrality. The long-term energy strategies of various European countries include additional targets such as the diversification of energy sources, maintenance of security of supply, and reduction of import dependency. When optimizing energy systems, these strategic policy targets are often only considered in a rudimentary manner and thus, the understanding of the corresponding interdependencies is lacking. Moreover, hydrogen is considered as a key component of a fully decarbonized energy system, but its role in the power sector remains unclear due to the low round-trip efficiencies. This study reveals how fully decarbonized European power systems can benefit from hydrogen in terms of overall system costs and the achievement of strategic policy targets. We analyzed a broad spectrum of scenarios using an energy system optimization model and varied model constraints that reflect strategic policy targets. Our results are threefold. First, compared to power systems without hydrogen, systems using hydrogen realize savings of 14–16% in terms of the total system costs. Second, the implementation of a hydrogen infrastructure reduces the number of infeasible scenarios when structural policy targets are considered within the power system. Third, the role of hydrogen is highly diverse at a national level. Particularly, in countries with low renewable energy potential, hydrogen plays a crucial role. Here, high levels of self-sufficiency and security of supply are achieved by deploying hydrogen-based power generation of up to 46% of their annual electricity demand, realized via imports of green hydrogen.

Funding source: This research is part of the project ‘‘INTEEVER II – Analysis of the integration of renewable energies in Germany and Europe, taking into account security of supply and decentralized flexibility’’. It is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) under grant number FKZ 03ET4069 A.
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: Germany

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