Power Minister RK Singh on Thursday asked the European Union (EU) to have an “open and competitive market” and underlined that for India-EU cooperation to have a future, the EU has to adopt relevant policies and standards, especially on producing green hydrogen.

The Minister’s message was clear — if Europe wanted a slice of one of the largest energy market in India, their policies have to be accordingly tweaked.

“As far as our cooperation with the EU is concerned, I think that has a future. Of course, it depends on policies and standards, which you adopt. One thing is clear that we will be producing green hydrogen at the lowest prices. This (India) is the biggest market and the most open market. If you want a slice of the largest market in the world, you will have to compete,” said Singh.

Green hydrogen

Speaking at the first EU-India Green Hydrogen Forum, the Minister took a dim view at the proposed EU standards on production of green hydrogen adding, “Have an open mind. If you do not, then I shall accuse you of protectionism.” Under the REPowerEU plan, the EU is aiming to have a production of 1 million tonne (mt) of hydrogen produced from renewable energy (RE) sources by 2024 and to enhance it to 20 mt by 2030.

A top executive from a company working on green hydrogen supply chain said the Minister’s comments should be viewed in the context of proposed standards being applied on production of green hydrogen. Besides, hydrogen producers will have to prove that any power drawn from the grid for other purposes is not used for electrolyser. “The standards will create administrative hurdles and delay contracts,” the official added.

Impractical standards

Referring to the proposed standards, the Minister said “... once you do that (protectionism) then you do not have any opportunity to come to us and give us homilies on various moral aspects. Why I say this is because I have seen some reports about you (EU) tying up some sources of supply in particular countries. Go in for open competition. “

He further opined that standards the EU is mulling are impractical. “I have put up 168,000 MW RE capacity... Unless you have storage, you will not have round-the-clock RE energy ... you will not be able to replace fossil fuels.”

“So basically, you need to think through your strategy. You will be needing lots of green hydrogen and green ammonia,” he further urged.