Belgium updates its hydrogen strategy in anticipation of European legislation

10 November, 2022

The Belgian government recently published an update of its Hydrogen Strategy 2022, which outlines the country’s plans to become a major hub for importing and transit green hydrogen in Western Europe.

This is in line with the government’s previous recognition of the need for massive hydrogen imports to meet climate targets. A clear and viable strategy to produce, import and promote the use of this renewable energy.

According to this plan, Belgium will import significant amounts of renewable hydrogen molecules and derivatives (20 TWh in 2030 and between 200 and 350 TWh in 2050) to meet its domestic needs as well as transmission to neighbouring countries.

The Belgian government outlines its plans to make the country a major import hub and transit country for green hydrogen in Western Europe

Belgium is in the process of drafting a new law in anticipation of the Directive that will regulate the hydrogen market — the European Council is already working on the Directive — as part of its strategy update, taking into account the potential for this market.

The Belgian government believes that hydrogen transmission is a natural monopoly, and should be regulated under non-discriminatory rules to encourage market development. It has a proposal under consultation for a single hydrogen network operator (HNO) appointed on a competitive basis and certified by the regulator.

There is also the possibility of multiple network owners operating on the model of ISO (independent network operator), but managed by a single HNO. As things stand today, the gas TSO Fluxys is positioned as a possible future HNO for the country.

Belgium is in the process of drafting a new law in anticipation of the Directive that will regulate the hydrogen market

At the same time, the update of the strategy reflects the various goals that the federal government intends to achieve:

  • The further development of a hydrogen transmission network to be operated under non-discriminatory access conditions for third parties.
  • Interconnecting the hydrogen transmission network to Germany by 2028, for which 300 million euros have been earmarked.
  • Investment in strategic import and transmission infrastructure for the development of the future Belgian renewable energy economy. Connecting hydrogen supply and demand, and with European Commission initiatives on certification and operation of the hydrogen market. Currently, the TSO Fluxys is focusing on the development of the green hydrogen transmission network.
  • In addition to the investments in the Belgian hydrogen transmission network, the government plans to tender projects for hydrogen import infrastructure at the end of the year. The aim is to support the development of facilities for the import of hydrogen molecules or derivatives and the injection of gaseous molecules into the hydrogen transmission network.
  • As hydrogen gains importance in the energy mix, strategic storage will become crucial.
  • In addition to the various projects under way in Belgium to produce green hydrogen, they also believe it is important to invest in greater collaboration with regional governments and European and international partners.

With the update of the strategy, Belgium is making progress towards the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It has much to gain from the development of legislation and infrastructure for the production of green hydrogen and as a transit country for neighbouring countries.