28 May 2020, 12:29
Benjamin Wehrmann

German Social Democrats say EU hydrogen production ideal case for coronavirus recovery project

Clean Energy Wire

A coordinated European green hydrogen production infrastructure is a prime example for possible EU coronavirus recovery projects to kickstart economic activity in the wake of the pandemic, Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) have said. Producing hydrogen with wind and solar power could "open new perspectives" for countries that were hit especially hard by the pandemic and associated containment measures that let economic activity to grind to a halt, such as Italy or Spain, Matthias Miersch, vice-head of the SPD parliamentary group, told journalists in a telephone conference on Wednesday (27 May). The smaller government coalition partner of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU alliance said the "European dimension" of energy policy should by all means be included in possible green stimulus packages and apart from hydrogen production, this could also mean investments in EU-wide grid infrastructure or mobility concepts. The 750 billion euro recovery fund proposed by the European Commission could well incorporate European hydrogen production infrastructure as a key project, Miersch said, adding that the German government would likely be able to quickly find common ground with other EU member states on how such a project could be implemented. "We need a comprehensive approach that goes beyond the economy," Miersch argued, stressing that coronavirus recovery programmes should also consider other dimensions, such as family support and employment rights.

The EU has presented its recovery proposal, with which it also aims to "unlock investments" in green hydrogen. The German government will debate proposals for a coronavirus stimulus programme next week, with the SPD saying it aims to ensure that sustainability looms large as a guiding principle for possible support payments and other aid measures to assist struggling businesses and households. Policymakers from the EU and Germany have insisted that economic recovery from the crisis be sustainable and called for making the European Green Deal a framework for stimulus programmes.

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