The EU’s targets for green hydrogen production by 2030 are unrealistic, according to Miguel Stilwell, CEO of one of Europe’s largest utilities, EDP.

The bloc aims to produce ten million tonnes of green hydrogen a year by 2030, while importing a further ten million tonnes from outside the EU.

Stay ahead on hydrogen with our free newsletter
Keep up with the latest developments in the international hydrogen industry with the free Accelerate Hydrogen newsletter. Sign up now for an unbiased, clear-sighted view of the fast-growing hydrogen sector.

Each target would require the installation of at least 100GW of electrolysers, yet only about 80MW were installed in the EU last year, according to an International Energy Agency report published earlier this week, with the global capacity reaching only 687MW by the end of 2022.

Scaling up electrolysers to meet these goals will take time, Stilwell told a conference in Lisbon on Tuesday, hosted by Portuguese newspaper Expresso.

“There are inflated expectations about hydrogen, many targets are unrealistic,” he said, Reuters reports. “We are seeing 100MW projects that could be operational in 2026 or 2027, but we are still far from gigawatt-scale projects.”

Stilwell explained that EU financing rules and regulations crucial for the roll-out of green hydrogen are still not in place — a likely reference to the lack of detail about the European Hydrogen Bank and how the rules of the Delegated Acts, such as additionality and temporal correlation, will be monitored and proven.

These issues are slowing down the build-out of green hydrogen projects in Europe.

Only two projects of 100MW or more have reached a final investment decision in the EU — HH2E’s 100MW facility in northern Germany and Shell’s 200MW Holland Hydrogen 1 in the Netherlands.

Nevertheless, Portugal’s EDP — the tenth largest power utility in Europe — is investing in green hydrogen, including a 100MW project in Sines, south of Lisbon, in co-operation with Portuguese oil company Galp.

Earlier this month, Portugal increases its 2030 green hydrogen production goal from 2.5GW to 5.5GW.