ForTheDoers Blog

Going beyond power sector decarbonisation: Electrifying industries and building Europe's hydrogen economy

30 January 2024, 13:49 EET

Industrial competitiveness, security of supply and energy independence are expected to be among key priorities during the next EU mandate (2024–2029). I am excited to share insights from our recently published White Paper, which outlines our proposals for crucial actions for the next EU Commission. 

Ahead of the European Parliamentary elections in early June and the nomination of the next EU Commission, we at Fortum wanted to contribute to the discussion by publishing our reflections and proposals to support the dialogue with political stakeholders. Our EU White Paper proposes several key actions that the next EU Commission should take to foster the development of clean and green industries and to reduce dependency on fossil fuel supplies.

The focus of the White Paper is on three critical areas: decarbonisation, competitiveness and security of supply – each of them crucial for ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future for Europe. The Paper emphasises the urgent need for Europe to foster clean and green industries and reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. This transition that lies ahead is not just a matter of environmental necessity, it’s also a unique opportunity to drive innovation and sustainable growth across Europe

Shifting the focus of decarbonisation from the power sector to industries

With the decarbonisation of the power sector already advancing well, enhancing the direct and indirect electrification of industries and the development of a hydrogen economy is the next task at hand in EuropeTo make it happen, all CO2-free electricity will be needed. From the energy system perspective, it is of paramount importance to ensure that the right balance between different electricity production forms will be found. In the electricity system, we need both firm, flexible and variable capacity, as well as reliable and sufficient power grids.

Boosting competitiveness and security of supply through all clean energy sources

Europe's economic future depends on its ability to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving global landscape. By investing in clean energy technologies and infrastructure, Europe can lead the way in the global clean energy transition. Our Paper argues for policies that support the development of new technologies, facilitate market access for renewable energy sources, and ensure a level playing field for all clean energy technologies. Diversifying energy sources and enhancing Europe's own energy production capabilities are vital also from the perspective of security of supply

In that context, our White Paper proposes several key actions for the next EU Commission:

  • Accelerate industrial decarbonisation: This involves speeding up the process to reduce Europe’s reliance on fossil fuels and external supply chains for critical resources like raw materials and energy as well as making the decarbonisation of industries and industrial processes a top priority.
  • Restore market principles and regulatory framework: Ensuring that the energy market operates in a stable and predictable way is crucial to encouraging investments and innovations in clean energy technologies. 
  • Invest in electrification and the hydrogen economy: Electrification of various industries and the development of a hydrogen economy are critical for a sustainable energy future. 
  • Set and maintain ambitious climate targets: Europe must lead by example, setting and adhering to ambitious climate goals to drive global action on climate change. This involves, for example, maintaining high climate ambition (90% CO2 reduction by 2040 and carbon budget for 2030–2050) and separating targets for emissions reduc­tions and carbon removals.
  • Promote all clean energy technologies: A diverse mix of renewable energy sources and technologies is essential for a balanced and resilient energy system. This involves developing a comprehensive strategy for hydropower, fostering European nuclear energy, advancing clean hydrogen and tackling the challenges in wind and solar power production.

In conclusion, the next EU Commission has a pivotal role to play in shaping Europe's energy future. By focusing on decarbonisation, competitiveness, and security of supply, we can ensure a resilient, thriving and green future for all of Europe. 

While we continue posting more detailed views on the key priorities during the upcoming months, we invite energy and policy experts to engage with the ideas presented in our White Paper. Your insights, discussions and collaborative efforts are welcome and needed in turning these insights into concrete actions, so let’s keep in touch!

Merja Paavola

Vice President, Corporate Public Affairs
Tel: +358 50 396 1161
merja [dot] paavola [at] fortum [dot] com