This new guide outlines key regulations, supervisory bodies, subsidy schemes and contractual issues concerning green hydrogen production and sale in eight European countries.
European law firm Fieldfisher has launched a new guide to "Shaping Europe's hydrogen economy", covering key regulatory and commercial considerations for actors in this fast-growing industry.
Co-authored by hydrogen experts across the firm's flagship Energy and Natural Resources Group, the report reflects Fieldfisher's experiences of advising clients on green hydrogen projects and transactions in eight countries – Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK – and their analysis of the evolving regulatory environment.
Common themes emerging from the report include:
- Accessing subsidy schemes and government grants is a challenging process across the jurisdictions examined, with the 'chicken and egg' problem of the need for growth funding versus the need for sufficient maturity and scale of hydrogen business models recurring as a particular obstacle.
- Most jurisdictions examined are still developing their hydrogen regulations to catch up with government policy on reducing greenhouse emissions, with many aspects of hydrogen production and transportation still covered by existing gas regulations.
- Significant national and cross-border infrastructural upgrades are required to accommodate hydrogen into future grid-scale energy supply.
- Hydrogen purchase agreements and related commercial documents are still being developed, in tandem with the identification of key commercial and legal issues specific to the hydrogen market.
Commenting on the release of the new report, Daniel Marhewka, Co-Head of Energy and Natural Resources at Fieldfisher said:
"Our international Energy and Natural Resources group is seeing a significant increase in demand for green hydrogen expertise – something that few law firms can offer at the depth and scale that we can provide, thanks to our extensive work in this area over the past few years."
"Green hydrogen is touted as the fuel of the future and we are pleased to share our experience of working with clients on hydrogen projects in this report.
"As a novel but fast-moving area, clients venturing into this market are finding it challenging to negotiate the regulatory and commercial environments for hydrogen, a situation that may hamper progress for some market participants without expert guidance.
David Haverbeke, Energy and Infrastructure Partner and Head of EU Regulatory at Fieldfisher added:
"This is an exciting time for green hydrogen as the newest meaningful component in Europe's clean energy market.
"The EU has indicated its intention to take the development of Europe's hydrogen economy seriously, with its rules defining green hydrogen and derivative fuels becoming binding law in summer 2023.
"EU Member States are in the process of implementing the EU's vision for green hydrogen and market participants are balancing the need to adapt to the rules while responding to technical and commercial pressures."
Fieldfisher's international Energy and Natural Resources flagship focus sector group spans the entire Fieldfisher network and its renewables and sustainability practice is one among the strongest teams of skilled legal advisers in Europe's renewable energy industry. Our specialist lawyers are leaders in their fields and provide clients with the commercial advice they need to navigate this fast-changing sector with confidence.
Access the report here: Shaping Europe's hydrogen economy (fieldfisher.com).
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