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15 Sep 2021, 13:05
Sören Amelang

German utilities are against narrow focus on green hydrogen

German utilities have said that the country must allow the use of hydrogen made with fossil fuel gas for a transitional period on the way to climate-neutrality, instead of focusing solely on "green" hydrogen made with renewable power. "To slow the hydrogen roll-out with criteria that are too narrow is fundamentally wrong," said Kerstin Andreae, head of energy industry lobby group BDEW, at the association's annual congress. "We need a ramp-up on an industrial scale." She added that Germany will also rely on natural gas for heating and power production for a long time, given that sufficient amounts of green hydrogen will not be available anytime soon. She said gas power stations that can later switch to hydrogen will be essential to guaranteeing supply security. "Without supply security, citizens' and industry's support for the energy transition will collapse," Andreae warned.

Andreae said Germany's new government, which is to be formed after the elections on 26 September, must focus on massively stepping up the roll-out of renewables, speed up grid extensions, and push the transition in the heating sector. The association warned that pulling forward Germany's coal exit to 2030 "will not work" if the country doesn't have enough renewable power. Germany currently plans to stop using coal for making electricity by 2038 at the latest. RWE CEO Markus Krebber said at the conference his company would like to realise many more renewable projects in Germany. The necessary capital was also available, but projects don't get off the ground due to regulatory hurdles, he added.

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