Hydrogen sourcing strategies and cross-sectoral flexibility trade-offs in net-neutral energy scenarios for Europe
Achieving climate neutrality in Europe requires transformations in all parts of the economy, including the power, building, industry, and transport sector. Given the necessary direct and indirect electrification measures, flexibility potentials and sourcing strategies for renewable energy carriers increasingly become the centre of attention. With a pan-European cross-sectoral capacity expansion planning framework, this case study investigates the trade-offs and impacts resulting from different realisations of heat, transport, and industry flexibility sources in future net-neutral scenarios against the background of two hydrogen sourcing strategies for Europe. Assessments of individual and combined effects analyse multiple combinations of realised or unrealised sector-specific flexibility characteristics, including a no- and full-flexibility scenario. This approach quantifies the value of a fully sector-integrated European energy system and its dependency on hydrogen and e-fuel imports from outside of Europe for a less flexible system. It further shows the heterogeneous nature and country-specific constitution of low-carbon power and energy markets to play an important role for market values of generation and consumption technologies. In general, the analysis highlights the need for explicitly representing hybrid sector interfaces with significant technological and temporal detail in low-carbon energy systems.