'Renewable energies are produced locally. Green hydrogen, as a carrier of energy, contributes to an increased independence from fossil fuels. Regions are strong partners in building a green hydrogen society and thus a sustainable environment,' said Riccardo Illy, President of the Assembly of European Regions (AER) and President of the Autonomous Italian Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, on the occasion of the European Parliament workshop on hydrogen.
Green hydrogen is a major trump for Europe's regions, President Illy stressed in his speech. Renewable energies from water, wind, sun, biomass and geothermic sources are local sources of energy, creating employment and protecting the environment.
'In the context of the new Common Agricultural Policy which limits financial support to our farmers, green hydrogen can be an important source of new income for our farmers,' Riccardo Illy said. 'There is great potential for the economies of our Regions in the development of renewable energies.'
President Illy stated, however, that an integrated energy approach would be needed. Three factors must be addressed: enhancing energy efficiency, development of renewable energy sources and, last but not least, intelligent energy supply systems using hydrogen, called 'smart grids'. Since 2003 the AER has developed an energy strategy in which green hydrogen has been a main pillar. Best practices, online partnership fairs, knowledge exchange through seminars, for example on funding opportunities, are spread via the interregional network of the AER, which consists of 255 regions, in order to promote an integrated energy approach.
On the same day, the European Commission decided on its strategy on energy and climate change, allowing for more competition in the energy market. 'We fully support the approach of the Commission for more competition. If the EU gives in to the big monopolies in the energy sector we will not succeed in developing the potential of renewable energies to provide safe and affordable energy in the future', explained President Illy.
'The more renewable energies we use, the less we will depend on fossil energies. In fact, the more renewable energies are available, the better chance there is of slowing down the increase in prices for oil. Regions are the best promoters of a green hydrogen society, as they are the major beneficiaries, but we need to promote this idea among the regions', President Illy concluded.
The European Parliament Workshop on green hydrogen was initiated by MEP Vittorio Prodi and Jeremy Rifkin, President of the Foundation of Economic Trends in Washington D.C and author of the book 'The Hydrogen Economy: The Creation of the World Wide Energy Web and the Redistribution of Power on Earth'. Speakers included, amongst others, MEPs Jo Leinen, Claude Turmes, Philippe Busquin and Umberto Guidoni.
The Assembly of European Regions/AER is the political organisation of the Regions in Europe and their spokesperson at European and international level. Its vocation is to defend the Regions' interests in the political process and develop interregional cooperation. The AER brings together 255 Regions from 30 European Countries and 14 interregional organisations.
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