Published April 3, 2023 | Version v2
Report Open

D10.2 Stakeholder perspectives on the societal embeddedness of the development and deployment of hydrogen technologies in the Netherlands

  • 1. TNO


Hydrogen has the potential to play an important role in the future (sustainable) energy system of the Netherlands and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For the development and application of energy technologies, it is important to consider social aspects in addition to technical aspects.

Based on 14 semi-structured interviews, hydrogen developments in the Netherlands were mapped according to the four Societal Embeddedness Level (SEL) dimensions (impact on the environment, stakeholders and public, policy, laws & regulations and market & (financial) resources). Because environmental and market impacts are also highlighted in other work packages of HyDelta 2.0, these interviews focused on stakeholder and public involvement and policy laws and regulations.

The research question for this task is:

"What are the stakeholder perspectives on the societal embeddedness of the development and deployment of hydrogen technologies in the Netherlands and associated societal risks?"

First, the impact of hydrogen as an energy carrier in the Netherlands on the environment was examined. This shows that the greatest potential impact is experienced when it comes to (the feeling of) safety, use of space for energy transition and living environment and nuisance from light, noise and use of space during the (re)construction of projects.

Second, we looked at stakeholder and public involvement. Here it emerges that hydrogen seems to have a positive image among the public, although the level of knowledge is still low. There is a need for communication from either the government or knowledge institutions to the public, but also to organizations that (want to) get involved with hydrogen. Public information needs are in the areas of practical issues, safety and finance. Organizations (wanting to) get involved with hydrogen need more communication about the vision and goals regarding hydrogen in the Netherlands. In obtaining and maintaining public support, information and communication play an important role, but trust and a sense of justice are also important.

Third, policy, laws and regulations were examined. This shows that the policy framework regarding hydrogen is still evolving. New standards need to be set and roles of established and new parties are changing. Licensing procedures still have a long lead time, which is perceived as a challenge by parties involved. There is much development in this area, for example in the form of the Temporary Guidelines for Safety.

Finally, we looked at market and financial resources. Here it emerges that the market for hydrogen has yet to be established or brought into being. There is still uncertainty in the development of supply and demand. The uncertainty of supply and demand combined with uncertainty in the policy framework and long-term vision from the government means that investing in hydrogen is often still seen as risky.

The analysis of the perspectives of hydrogen in the four SEL dimensions shows that social support for hydrogen in the Netherlands is currently good. A number of (societal) challenges also emerge:

  1. There is no consensus yet on how hydrogen should be applied in the Netherlands.
  2. Public support may diminish when project developments start. This can be influenced by:
    • Lack of trust in activities or parties involved;
    • Lack of sense of fairness.
  3. Lack of policies and standards can delay project development and deter companies from investment decisions.
  4. Long lead time of permitting procedures can delay progress of project development.
  5. The energy system is changing, and so are roles, for example those of government, grid operators, regulators and energy providers.
  6. The energy transition is a major task but available space in the Netherlands is limited. A risk is that insufficient space is available.
  7. There is scarcity of knowledge and labor. The tightness in the labor market can cause project development and permitting to have a longer lead time.

The results from this report indirectly contribute to the results of HyDelta work package 3 (risks and collaboration in H2) and HyDelta work package 6 (safe operations LP grid).

Following this task, the results of the literature review, local case studies and stakeholder interviews will be brought together in a synthesis. Through co-creation workshops with HyDelta research partners and (local) stakeholders the results will be compared, validated and worked towards what 'risk governance strategies' for societal risks and uncertainties can look like.


Dit project is medegefinancierd door TKI Nieuw Gas | Topsector Energie uit de PPS-toeslag onder referentienummer TKI2022-HyDelta.