17 Apr 2024, 12:50
Jennifer Collins

Germany wants to speed up hydrogen expansion with 'overriding public interest' law – media

Tagesspiegel Background / Handelsblatt

Germany's government wants to boost the expansion of hydrogen projects by giving them "overriding public interest" status, which would streamline planning applications and make it easier to convert existing gas pipeline and storage facilities, according to a draft law reported in news service Tagesspiegel Background. The approach would ensure faster approval procedures and that any legal action against projects is dealt with quickly in court. So far, the draft covers hydrogen infrastructure, including electrolysers, pipelines, storage and ancillary facilities and would also simplify environmental impact assessments, wrote Tagesspiegel. It is open for consultation with relevant industry associations until April 30 and a final version must then be agreed by the cabinet. If the cabinet reaches an agreement, the draft will go to parliament for debate.

Handelsblatt also reported that the SPD, Green and FDP coalition wants to speed up planning and approval procedures for all energy infrastructure relevant to the green transition. Faster planning applications currently only apply to wind and solar power as well as electricity grid expansion. But the new agreement would cover biomass, hydropower, geothermal and gas plants required for "security of supply”. Coal plants are excluded from the agreement, but it does mention underground facilities that could store CO2. The plan also includes the possibility of building nuclear fusion reactors more quickly if that technology advances in the future.

Germany's three-party coalition last summer presented an update to its National Hydrogen Strategy aimed at ramping up the development of the market for the fuel. The update doubled the 2030 target for domestic capacity of electrolysers to produce green hydrogen from renewable sources to 10 gigawatts but said that Germany would have to import most of its hydrogen to meet demand.  

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