Emmanuel Macron’s new French Government are speeding ahead with ambitions to implement hydrogen mobility, acknowledging that the potential for hydrogen share into the zero emission mobility has been “largely underestimated”. The French Minister of Energy Transition, Nicolas Hulot, launched his ambitious Climate Plan on 6 July which outlines the French target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The UK has a target of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050 compared to a baseline of 1990 emissions and it’s great to see a little bit of cross channel rivalry.
This transition to carbon neutrality will require largescale reform of ecological and economic models as well as strong political will. Fortunately, Macron is not afraid of shaking things up and his track record of revolution over evolution might be just what the energy industry needs. It is apt then that his Minister’s job title includes the word “Transition”, a mindset that reflects the ambition of this new Carbon Plan.
Among the measures announced were a strong withdrawal from fossil fuels, a reduction in the share of nuclear power and a ban on the sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2040. This last objective can only be achieved by a ramp up of the deployment of zero emission vehicles and its positive to hear the Energy Transition Minister recognise the positive impact of hydrogen fuel cells. In an interview with French radio station RTL, Hulot stated that “the hydrogen role in sustainable mobility has been largely underestimated” and highlighted the technologies potential to contribute to all forms of mobility from cars, buses, trains, boats, planes and material handling vehicles.
The UK’s Clean Growth Plan in expected to be launched by BEIS following the Summer Recess. Ministers should take note of their French counterparts’ approach and take this opportunity to demonstrate that the UK is still serious about being a global leader in decarbonisation. And what better place to start than with an ambitious deployment roadmap for hydrogen mobility.
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Hydrogen Hub Manager