Ukrainian Green Hydrogen strategy

Energy transition is an ambitious strategic choice of Ukraine, which will determine the main trends and directions of development of the national economy over the next 30 years. In order to realize this transition Ukrainian government will face many challenges:

  • How to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels?
  • How to decarbonize industry which is highly dependent on fossil fuels?
  • How to decarbonize the transport sector?
  • How to develop mobility on the basis of renewable energy?
  • How to improve energy efficiency and energy storage?
  • How to integrate flexibility options in order to match the generation of renewable electricity with demand?

All these questions and many more could be addressed with the help of many new technologies which will be needed to replace the current reliance on conventional energy. One of the most promising modern technologies to deliver the scaled up renewable energy to the economy are hydrogen technologies due to unique hydrogen chemical properties as the carrier of energy.

Combined with comprehensive energy efficiency measures and development of renewable energy sources, large scale production and use of hydrogen in Ukraine will allow to decarbonize its energy sector, as well as transport and many other industries. This will contribute to strengthening intersectoral ties and forming sustainable clusters in the economy, intensifying innovation and investment activities, creating new job opportunities, increasing the competitiveness of Ukrainian enterprises, promoting Ukraine in the world rankings to significantly improve the investment climate.

Given the size and anticipated growth of the existing hydrogen market, the development of renewable hydrogen projects could present a significant investment opportunity in Ukraine. Not only does Ukraine enjoy some of the most abundant renewable resources in Europe, but it also is the country that is most in need of new and clean forms of energy to support economic development. Ensuring that the alternative fuels create zero emissions, are affordable, and are convenient to use is essential to avoid locking Ukraine (and ultimately global CO2 emissions) into a trajectory that leads to significant climatic warming by the middle of the century.

Green hydrogen plays a key role in the EU’s climate neutrality goals. At the same time, EU countries will not be able to cover internal demand for green hydrogen. For this reason, and due to the renewable energy potential of Ukraine for green hydrogen production, the following strategic documents at EU level contain plans regarding Ukraine:

  • the Hydrogen Strategy for a Climate-Neutral Europe dated 8 July 2020, where Ukraine is identified as a priority partner
  • the Green Hydrogen for a European Green Deal is a 2×40 GW Initiative, according to which Ukraine will have 8,000 MW of electrolyser capacities for green hydrogen and 1,800 MW for ammonia by 2030
  • the Green Hydrogen Investment and Support Report, according to which Ukraine requires EUR 20.1 billion in investment to construct capacities for a 10,000 MW electrolyser

Hydrogen strategy in Ukraine

Policy support for green hydrogen is very important for the development of hydrogen projects in Ukraine. Many countries announced their targets and regulatory framework for green hydrogen through hydrogen strategies. The first hydrogen strategy was announced by Japan in 2017. In 2020, several EU countries developed and approved their hydrogen strategies, including Germany, Spain, Norway and the Netherlands.

Ukraine does not have a hydrogen strategy yet. However, according to the decision of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine of 30 July 2021, and enacted by the Presidential Decree of 28 August 2021, the Cabinet Ministers of Ukraine shall approve Ukraine’s hydrogen strategy by 31 December 2021 and approve an action plan for its implementation, which should include relevant amendments to legislation.

Work on a national hydrogen strategy by the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine is already under way in Ukraine with assistance from USAID and support of the World Bank. On 11 August 2021, the first meeting of a working group on the development of the Hydrogen Strategy of Ukraine was held in the Ministry of Energy together with representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, the State Agency for Energy Efficiency, industry organisations, and experts. It should be noted that taking into account the industry’s novelty, the Hydrogen Strategy of Ukraine should be a dynamic document. However, it is unclear when the Hydrogen Strategy of Ukraine will be approved.

In December 2021, the draft of hydrogen strategy of Ukraine was presented. The draft strategy presents three stages of development of hydropower in Ukraine from 2022 to 2050.

The first stage (2022-2025) requires laying the foundations for simultaneous energy and launching an export market for “green” hydrogen. Another (2026-2030) is the diversification of primary energy sources by increasing hydrogen production. The third stage (2031-2050) requires rapid market expansion, especially the export component.
The authors note that the potential for “green” hydrogen production in Ukraine with the help of solar and wind power plants is about 500 billion cubic meters per year.

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