While most H2 is currently produced from fossil fuels, projections suggest renewable and low carbon H2 could grow dramatically and play a key role on the path to net zero. In its Transforming Energy Scenario published in its Global Renewables Outlook in 2020, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says H2 could supply up to 8% of overall global energy demand by 2050, with more recent studies suggesting it could be even higher. The industry-led Hydrogen Council have envisioned up to 18% could be possible, saving 6 gigatonnes of annual emissions and potentially creating a US$ 2.5 trillion per annum industry.
Hydropower could play a transformative role in supporting growth in green hydrogen, providing at least 1,000 TWh (13%) of the required additional demand for emission-free electricity, when considering its share in IRENA’s 2050 scenario for decarbonised electricity. As understanding of the potential for hydrogen increases, new analysis projects even higher levels of hydrogen electrolysis. This in turn suggests hydropower’s contribution could be much greater as part of a much higher demand for low carbon electricity.
To read the full report by International Hydropower Association, please click here