France was one of the European frontrunners in formulating policies to develop hydrogen for decarbonisation, publishing its first hydrogen plan in 2018, followed by a larger, €9-billion plan in 2020, hot on the heels of plans released by the European Commission and Germany. The French strategy for hydrogen deployment focuses in particular on applications where hydrogen is key for deep decarbonisation, including refineries and the chemical industry as well as steel production, and the mobility sector. The country aims to have a head start on European and world competitors thanks to large electricity resources from the existing nuclear fleet and by building new nuclear capacity. Additionally, it relies on several existing innovation hubs specialised in hydrogen, as well as the support of many local governments involved in hydrogen development and a relatively structured hydrogen industry. The French strategy for hydrogen does not include ambitions at the international level beyond scientific and technological cooperation within the European Union. The political priority is to develop a domestic industry sized to meet national demand, which is seen as a more secure sourcing strategy than relying on imports. This comes in contrast with the positions of France’s neighbours, notably Spain, Portugal and Germany, which are pushing to enable cross-border trade of hydrogen as early as possible. This situation has generated political tensions within the European Union and in particular in the Franco-German relationship.
- Publication Year
- Publication Type
- RIFS Discussion Papers and RIFS Working Papers
Bouacida, I. (2023). France’s Hydrogen Strategy: Focusing on Domestic Hydrogen Production to Decarbonise Industry and Mobility. RIFS Discussion Paper, June 2023.
- Projects involved
- Geopolitics of the Energy Transformation: Implications of an International Hydrogen Economy (GET Hydrogen)