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17 May 2022, 11:49
Julian Wettengel

Energy industry calls for law to ramp-up Germany's hydrogen economy – media report

Clean Energy Wire / SZ / Tagesspiegel Background

German energy industry association BDEW has called for a “hydrogen ramp-up law” to ensure that the country quickly takes the steps necessary to build up a market for climate-friendly hydrogen, reports Süddeutsche Zeitung. A new support programme should help fund the generation and use of hydrogen, for example through carbon contracts for difference (CCfD). The government also has to ensure that hurdles in the permitting process are minimised and that the necessary infrastructure for hydrogen imports can be set up, the lobby group said.

At a hydrogen conference in Berlin, German education and research minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger said that the government would support hydrogen research projects with about two billion euros over the coming four years. The minister is set to travel to Australia to intensify cooperation between the two countries. “My vision is that in just a few years, ships loaded with green hydrogen, produced with the help of solar and wind energy in Australia, will dock in Germany,” she said.

The government coalition has made the ramp-up of a German and European hydrogen economy a central pillar of its energy policy. It now aims to speed up the buildout even more in order to help the country become less dependent on Russian fossil fuel imports. “We have reduced our dependence on energy imports from Russia - but we are not yet at zero. We must and want to change that as quickly as possible,” said Stark-Watzinger. The government plans to reach an electrolysis capacity of 10 gigawatts  by 2030, and says that hydrogen should be used primarily in sectors and processes that cannot yet be made greenhouse gas neutral through electrification, such as aviation or heavy transport vehicles. Increased funding for hydrogen is also part of the government’s planned immediate action programme of climate measures.

However, it acknowledges that much of the green hydrogen still have to be imported also in the future. This means that it would be produced in sun-drenched regions and then transported to Europe via pipeline or ships. Tagesspiegel Background reports that the European Commission could present a long-awaited draft regulation on 18 May that lays out the criteria for what would be considered green hydrogen.

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