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⚡ "The Geopolitics Of Hydrogen"

Columbia Energy Exchange

Photo by Christian Lue / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Bill Loveless
Guest: Elizabeth Press | Director of Planning and Programme Support | International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
Category: ⚡Renewable Energy

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[5:51] “In the [IRENA] geopolitics report of 2019 hydrogens was mentioned literally six times, and I think twice in a footnote. […] And now we have a full report on it and it's a centerpiece of our policy focus right now. […] We're going to have a series of studies from different angles, but this is the first one in the series.”

[7:33] “From the geopolitical perspective, what we have found is that energy-political consequences of hydrogen market advancement will be closely related to renewable energy deployment, because any other form of hydrogen that is not based on renewables would actually follow the patterns of the existing markets. […] The debate is largely around the blue and green [hydrogen], because this is largely accepted as two primary avenues for carbon neutral strategies. […] Any change, any dynamics that will shift in the geopolitical setting will be from the revolution […] in the renewable energy space that will extend to hydrogen.”

[8:46] “We focus on the most commonly used [hydrogen], [which is] gray hydrogen […], which is largely produced with fossil fuels, […] so it will be coal, gas, but without any carbon removal. Blue hydrogen is hydrogen that is combined with carbon capture and storage. So it's considered carbon friendly. And then green hydrogen is produced with renewable energy, so carbon neutral.”

[13:43] “Today, when you look at the world 80% of people live in countries that are net importers of energy. With renewables, every country on the planet has something, maybe not enough, but something. So you have these totally different dynamics, where there's […] both opportunities to exploit your local resources, but also close proximity matters. […] And this trend of regional integration based on renewable resources that are available in certain geographical areas is very evident.“

[18:41] “Three countries that we highlight in the report are Morocco, Chile, Namibia, [which] have the potential for inexpensive, renewable power. […] It's about benefiting from the capabilities that these countries have in terms of potential production of green hydrogen, and the proximity to different markets that might be having high demand. So in the case of Morocco, proximity to Europe is obvious. […] Europe is going to be an importer of hydrogen, they're very clear about their strategy. In the case of Chile, there is entire Latin America. In the case of Namibia, they're very much looking to South Africa. So there are some proximities that they certainly can work out to make them energy exporters, to turn their luck around.”

[24:12] “Hydrogen is not the new oil. And we wanted to make it very clear that even […] if [hydrogen was] limited just to these oil producing countries, fossil fuel economies, it still [would be] a lot less than […] having oil and gas. And secondly, it's gonna be a lot more competitive, because a lot more countries will be able to produce it. Anybody with sufficient renewable energy potential and suitable infrastructure will be a competitor. […] So I think we wanted to convey a message that it is […] an important avenue and an immediate one to diversify the economies of countries who heavily rely on fossil fuel. But it's not the panacea and it will not replace what they have today. So they really have to look at broader strategies for diversification.”

[31:35] “I think it would be very wise not to predict too much [about the future of hydrogen]. […] I think [hydrogen] is going to play a role in decarbonisation of the energy system. Where and how remains to be seen. From our side, we see it more in a centralized application like refineries, chemistry, rather than urban settings, or urban mobility, or heating. That makes more sense to be electrified, rather than going to hydrogen solutions. […] I think hydrogen will not have the same impact on the energy system the way that oil and gas for instance have because, I don't think it's going to touch […] citizens. It's going to be in industrial applications, in centralized places. So it's going to have a secondary impact on citizens. So I think it's going to be a lot more divorced from day to day lives.”

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 35 min | 🗓️ 01/25/2022
✅ Time saved: 33 min

Additional Links:
Report: “Geopolitics of the Energy Transformation: The Hydrogen Factor” (IRENA, 2022)