Germany's energy ministry proposes criteria for offshore green hydrogen production
Germany's energy ministry (BMWi) has proposed a set of rules to determine which concepts are eligible for areas for the construction of new renewable energy projects in the offshore sector in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. In contrast to existing offshore windfarms that are connected to the power grid and chosen via auctions according to their guaranteed remuneration bids, the new projects could generate green hydrogen directly at sea that is then brought ashore on ships or through pipelines. But since these installations will not be connected to the power grid and do not receive a remuneration per kilowatt-hour, their nomination has to follow different criteria. The BMWi proposes the following approach in its draft regulation: The annually expected energy output, the efficiency of the conversion and transport steps, the technical maturity, the ability to scale the project, the costs of the energy generated and the foreseeable environmental impact. If several projects score the same under these criteria, the added benefit that they bring to regional economic development and local employment will be used as a decisive factor. The regulation, which still has to be agreed by the cabinet, is scheduled to take effect at the end of 2021, meaning that construction location for the first projects can be designated in 2022. Successful projects are also entitled to apply for funding from a 500 million offshore hydrogen support programme under the new 2021 “climate pact”.
Germany’s offshore wind sector is facing a lull in activity after the government curtailed offshore wind targets and reorganised the allocation of marine areas. It won’t be until 2023 that new wind farms will be built in the North and Baltic Seas – projects that were awarded contracts in state tenders in 2017 and 2018. Measures on how to maintain employment in the industry will be discussed at a roundtable meeting in August between government officials and industry representatives.