01 Sep 2022, 12:14
Julian Wettengel

Germany must accelerate hydrogen ramp-up – gas grid operators

Clean Energy Wire

Germany has to speed up the development of its infrastructure for hydrogen use, as the country faces several energy-related crises at once,  gas transmission grid operators said during the presentation of their first hydrogen report. “The hydrogen ramp-up is more urgent than ever in view of the climate crisis, high energy prices and the current geopolitical situation,” grid operator association FNB Gas CEO Thomas Gößmann said. In the past two years alone, transport demand for hydrogen increased tenfold, the operators said. “Industry, public utilities and consumers now expect predictability. As the fourth largest economy in the world, Germany cannot wait any longer. Any delay makes the switch more expensive and jeopardises future supply security,” Gößmann said. Energy industry association BDEW, which contributed to the report, said a quick ramp-up of hydrogen was especially necessary to become independent of fossil energy sources, including those from Russia. “This can only succeed if the appropriate pipeline and storage infrastructure is created quickly,” BDEW head Kerstin Andreae said.

In the fight against climate change, hydrogen made with renewable electricity is seen as a possible panacea for sectors with particularly stubborn emissions, such as heavy industry and aviation. Germany has set out to become a global leader in the associated hydrogen technologies, and the government has penned a National Hydrogen Strategy to fulfil these ambitions.

Transmission grid operators were obliged to draft the report on the current state of expansion of the hydrogen network and the development of a future network plan until 2035. It includes possible criteria for considering hydrogen projects in future network planning and requirements for identifying expansion measures. The operators again called for an integrated network planning for both hydrogen and natural gas (methane). The government in the past decided to keep planning separate, meaning that existing planning rules for the gas grid and how it is financed via grid fees will not automatically apply to pipelines carrying hydrogen.

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