8. Hydrogen


Today, hydrogen (H2) is almost exclusively used in industry, especially the chemical industry, metallurgy and refining. Currently, it is 96% produced from fossil fuels. Recent technological advances have improved the yields and reliability of water electrolysis processes. Hydrogen can thus be produced from decarbonised or renewable electricity. As a consequence, the significant role of the hydrogen sector in the decarbonisation of the economy through its chaining with the electricity sector leads DSOs to study the impact of the development and integration of H technologies and systems (electrolysers, storage, fuel cells in particular) in the electricity system.


To meet the full projected hydrogen demand in Europe by 2050 (2150 – 2750 TWh), it would take about 2900 – 3800 TWh of electricity. Despite announcements of gigawatts of electrolysers being installed over the next decade, operational electrolyser capacity is yet to reach 100 MW across Europe. While 48% of European electrolyser capacity is in Germany, no other country has more than 10 MW installed as of today. Around one-third of the installed capacity is providing some form of ancillary service to the electricity system.

Challenges and opportunities for DSOs

  • Connection: How big will electrolysers be? Will they be close to RES-based production or uses?
  • Electricity consumption: What uses are likely to develop? What will be the impact on electricity consumption?
  • Flexibility/Storage: What flexibility services could be provided and under what conditions?
  • Operations: What will be the impact of H assets on network operation and security?
  • Sector coupling: Will H bring momentum to the acceleration of sector coupling?
  • Network planning: What will be the impact on the development of electricity networks? How will the current plans to reinforce the grid to integrate EVs (high-power chargers) be affected by the penetration of hydrogen in mobility?
  • Environment: It should also be noted that the development of heavy mobility and H mobile generators can contribute to the decarbonisation of DSOs’ activities.

EDSO opinions and views

  • H2 could be a solution to decarbonize heavy-duty transport, as we do not know today which will be the winning option between H2 and batteries. For light-duty vehicles, a clear choice has already been made in favour of batteries.
  • There is no common view on electrolysers’ location. Most E.DSO members expect electrolysers to be installed next to electrical production sites (particularly renewable ones). However, some of them expect electrolysers to be installed next to uses to avoid H2 transport and distribution.
  • Considering gas transport and distribution, reports show that H2 can be quite easily put in modern gas pipelines. This will be more complicated for old pipes but still feasible.
  • There is a common view that changing home appliances would be a tremendous challenge.

Last update: 28 September 2023