In Europe, the EU published its Hydrogen Strategy in July 2020, closely linked to its Energy Sector Integration Strategy. Several European countries have also published their own hydrogen strategies during 2020 (e.g. Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Germany, France, and Spain). While other countries (e.g. Italy and the UK) have not yet finalised formal strategies, they are actively developing plans for hydrogen to play a role in the energy transition. Outside Europe, several other countries have also published hydrogen strategies.

In this paper, researchers from the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies examine the intended hydrogen pathways in six key Western European markets and compare the approaches being developed in each of those countries. The selected countries are France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and the UK, chosen since they are all significant current natural gas markets and all are envisaging a significant role for hydrogen in the energy transition. It is notable that while all have similar ambitions and (apart from the UK) are all part of the EU, there are different approaches being developed in each country. It is likely that the use of molecules in the decarbonised energy system will vary by country and region, perhaps to a greater extent than the rather homogenous natural gas market across Europe today.