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War has forced a rapid acceleration and turnaround in energy

Tomoho Umeda: War has forced a rapid acceleration and turnaround in energy. The word "hydrogen" is falling from the lips of EU leaders today.

Putin and his assault on Ukraine have made us wake up to a new reality. The bubble of (illusory) energy security has burst, the myth that we can continue to carelessly pay Russia for its raw materials has collapsed. Over the last 20 years, Poland alone spent about a trillion zlotys on fossil fuels, most of which went to Russia. How they were used can be seen today in Ukraine - they sponsored deadly weapons. Yes, we too are sponsoring what is happening today in our eastern neighbors. In addition, despite the fact that since 2005 we have known the necessity of decarbonization, coal imports have been growing. Today, we need to clearly say - stop!

We must immediately stop buying Russian raw materials, accelerate the decarbonization path, and invest in renewables. The future lies in green technologies, which will make us independent of fossil fuels from Russia. Fortunately, EU leaders have recognized this, with unprecedentedly strong words coming from their mouths.

"There is a war going on and war will not wait for democratic procedures. The EU must, as soon as possible, reduce its dependence on Russian oil and gas," EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell thundered in Brussels. And he added: It is time to bet on renewable fuels and ... hydrogen (!).

"It is the switch to renewable energy sources and hydrogen that will make us truly independent" - accompanied him during a debate in the European Parliament by Ursula von der Leyen. President of the European Commission.

Yes, hydrogen is a "must have" for the new energy sector. Not only Europe knows this, but also Japan. In the Japanese government document "Green Growth Strategy" it is indicated that hydrogen and ammonia will be - besides nuclear energy and RES - the key elements of their energy transformation. Only with their participation can we think in any way about climate neutrality 2050.

It is worth noting that Japan counts on cooperation with Poland in this respect. When Poland was visited by senior representatives of METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) at the end of last year, they agreed that considerable funds should be allocated to Poland as the country with the greatest potential. Similar comments were made by the President of JBIC (Bank for International Cooperation) Tadashi Maeda, who mentioned Poland as an important partner for Japan in its energy transformation.

The war in Ukraine has also become a catalyst accelerating the decisions of Polish local governments, which want to protect their inhabitants and entrepreneurs from destabilisation on the energy market and sudden increase in energy prices, and for which ensuring local energy security is a priority. Successive city mayors are taking action

to launch their own energy storage facilities and create conditions for development of green technologies that will not only provide them with electricity but also with heat and fuel for local transport. Examples include Sejny, Działdowo or Sanok, as well as over a dozen of already established hydrogen valleys and clusters.

I expect a big acceleration on the hydrogen production market in Poland in the next two years, because independence from Russia and decarbonization are the biggest economic challenges for our country after 1989. In the current geopolitical situation it is also our duty.

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