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27 Jan 2023, 13:16
Carolina Kyllmann

Germany and Australia to strengthen energy and climate ties with focus on hydrogen

Clean Energy Wire

Germany and Australia plan to intensify their cooperation in the areas of energy, climate protection and emissions reduction, German economy minister Robert Habeck together with education minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger and Australian climate and energy minister Chris Bowen, said following meetings in Berlin. The two countries will put a particular focus on hydrogen and commit to supporting the establishment and expansion of a joint market. The ministers announced up to 72 million euros in funding for four new joint projects under the German–Australian Hydrogen Innovation and Technology Incubator (HyGATE) initiative, including new technologies for electrolysers and a project to produce methanol with solar electricity. The governments also released a joint summary report on the German-Australian Hydrogen Feasibility Study, which said much still needs to be done to establish a renewable hydrogen supply chain. "My goal is that the first delivery will arrive in Germany by 2030 at the latest," said Stark-Watzinger.

Australia has good conditions to generate renewable electricity from wind and solar energy, thus making it an ideal location to produce green hydrogen. “These projects demonstrate Australia’s role as a world leader in renewable energy production, reducing the cost of hydrogen production and paving the way for exports,” said Bowen on the projects announced today. Germany started cooperating with Australia in the area of energy in 2017 and formalised an energy partnership in 2021, which included a hydrogen agreement. This has now been extended to also cover climate. The extent of the changes will be defined over the coming months, according to the German economy ministry (BMWK), but initial topics could include just transitions, international climate cooperation and structural change. In the fight against climate change, hydrogen made with renewable electricity is seen as a vital tool for decarbonising sectors with particularly stubborn emissions, such as heavy industry and aviation.

[CORRECTION: a previous version of this article incorrectly stated Bettina Stark-Watzinger was the Australian education minister, she is Germany's education minister.]

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