02 May 2023, 13:26
Jessica Bateman

Germany to present plans for nationwide "hydrogen highways" by summer - econ min


The German government and gas operators are putting together detailed plans for a nationwide hydrogen network, the country’s economy minister Robert Habeck has said. The Green politician said the final plans will be unveiled before the summer, public broadcaster NDR reported. "We are working together with gas operators and are very precisely designing the hydrogen backbone network – the highway for hydrogen," Habeck said. He added that the government would plan the network and tell the respective operators when to implement it step by step. According to Habeck, it has not yet been decided who will pay for the pipeline network. Grid operators are being asked to build infrastructure for a fuel that is not produced in large quantities yet, so they need to make advance payments, said Habeck. The minister said state support could also be an option. In any case, "the roll-out of hydrogen electrolysis is now the next big step in Germany," Habeck emphasised.

The economy ministry was expected to present an acceleration law to drive the expansion of the hydrogen grid, including import infrastructure and domestic electrolysis capacity, before the end of the year. There has been a flurry of announcements of new hydrogen infrastructure plans in recent months. In April, European gas grid operators agreed to build a hydrogen network in the North Sea, and in March, Germany and the Netherlands agreed to connect their hydrogen grids. The government is currently working on an update to its national hydrogen strategy with higher targets and more information on future imports and the transport infrastructure. However, researchers are sceptical that Germany will be able to ramp up its hydrogen supply to the extent the government plans to.

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