10 Jun 2021, 13:49
Sören Amelang

Germany must not leave transport, heating out of hydrogen ramp-up - industry

Clean Energy Wire

German industry has called on the government to include transport and heating in the hydrogen economy ramp-up. "Policymakers must not leave out the transport and heating sectors when it comes to hydrogen," said Holger Lösch, Deputy Managing Director of the country's industry association BDI. Speaking exactly one year after the adoption of the country's hydrogen strategy, Lösch argued that a technology-neutral approach across all sectors is central to a tradable hydrogen market. He said the strategy is "a solid basis to boost the hydrogen ramp-up," but added that "more speed and more pragmatism are needed in the implementation."

In the fight against climate change, hydrogen made with renewable electricity is increasingly seen as a silver bullet 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. But many environmentalists and experts say hydrogen should not be used for transport and heating because these sectors can be powered directly with renewable electricity, which is much more energy-efficient.

The BDI also called for a greater focus on the international aspects of the implementation. "The state must think of the hydrogen strategy in more European terms. The expansion of European and international hydrogen partnerships is key to meeting enormous import demand in the future," Lösch said. He added that it was incomprehensible why green electricity for hydrogen production should be largely restricted to domestic sources, as "this will considerably limit the amount of electricity available." The lobby group also called for additional support to boost hydrogen production, as CO2 price signals alone are insufficient. "Brussels must now create the conditions under state aid law to subsidise operating costs for a limited period of time," Lösch said. He also called for the government to plan and regulate gas and hydrogen networks together "so as not to deter hydrogen pioneer customers."

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