Creating a policy framework for sustainable hydrogen in Finland – A comparative analysis

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202109073618
Title: Creating a policy framework for sustainable hydrogen in Finland – A comparative analysis
Author: Uitto, Elina
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2021
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202109073618
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/334076
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Oikeustieteen maisterin koulutusohjelma
Master's Programme in Law
Magisterprogrammet i rättsvetenskap
Specialisation: Eurooppaoikeus
European Law
Europarätt
Abstract: Countries worldwide are faced with the challenge of climate change mitigation. Even with the current climate targets, not enough is being done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the consumption of fossil-based energy. The hydrogen economy is believed to contribute to the green transition since green hydrogen is a carbon-free energy carrier and it provides an opportunity to decarbonize energy sectors where electrification is not possible. Such sectors where hydrogen could be utilized are, for example, the transport sector and various industry sectors, like chemicals and steel. A supportive policy framework is required to guarantee a swift and structured transition to functioning hydrogen markets. Finland, however, does not have a national strategy for the development of a hydrogen economy yet. This study explores the strategic possibilities in terms of developing a well-functioning hydrogen economy for Finland that would contribute to climate-neutrality. After describing and systemizing the current hydrogen scene in Finland, this study compares and analyzes the hydrogen strategies of the EU, Germany, and Norway. The aim is to find possible policy solutions that support the emerging Finnish hydrogen markets in the best way. This study concentrates on two specific aspects of hydrogen policy. What type of hydrogen should be supported in Finland – green or blue hydrogen, or both, and what kind of support mechanisms should be used to promote green hydrogen? The study concludes that the main conflict relating to the hydrogen economy, which is also inherent to energy law related issues in general, is the conflict between environmental interests and economic interests. We need quick actions to mitigate climate change, but green hydrogen is not cost-competitive, and it requires a lot of support to become feasible. It is found that the transitional period will play a crucial role in the development of the hydrogen economy, and blue hydrogen should lead the path towards fully green hydrogen markets. The shift to green hydrogen should be well-planned and structured, keeping in mind Finland’s prerequisites to produce both blue and green hydrogen. Realistic and concrete production targets for both blue and green hydrogen, defined and clear terminology, and well-designed support schemes are key for the future Finnish national hydrogen strategy. Hydrogen will likely require various forms of support, and the main rule is that direct financial support should be gradually removed, and the market-based support schemes should slowly take over.
Subject: energy law
energy policy
hydrogen economy
Finland
green hydrogen
policy framework
legal comparison
European Union


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