The Geopolitics of Clean Hydrogen – Opportunities and Challenges for Italy
The emergence of clean hydrogen as an energy carrier promises to shape the future geography of the energy trade. Under growing contestation of interdependence, such a geography should be read through political lenses alongside commercial and technological ones. Generally, hydrogen is likely to reduce the geopolitical sensitivity of energy trade with respect to a fossil-fuel-based energy order by increasing the share of energy produced domestically, shifting geostrategic competition from a focus on grabbing resources to a focus on mastering technology and setting standards, and offering petrostates opportunities for economic diversification. Italy can exploit the opportunities offered by a hydrogen economy for enhancing its energy security and positioning in the regional energy trade. However, it should be careful with monitoring how geopolitical barriers such as regional instability may affect its hydrogen ambitions.
Paper prepared in the context of the project “The role of Italy in the international economy of hydrogen: geo-economic and geopolitical implications”, June 2022.
1. Defining clean hydrogen geography
1.1 Assuming the size of clean hydrogen trade
1.2 Geography of costs and comparative advantages
1.3 Political will
2. The geopolitical aspects of clean hydrogen trade
3. Italy in the geopolitics of clean hydrogen
Conclusions and recommendations