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23 Sep 2021, 13:40
Sören Amelang

Government calls hydrogen strategy a success, but utilities see 'construction site'

Clean Energy Wire

One year on from the National Hydrogen Strategy launch, Germany’s government and industries are divided over its implementation. While the government’s interim report claims the strategy lays the foundation for investments that "position Germany as a pioneer and technological leader", industry associations warn there is still urgent need for action before it can be called a success. 

The government report stated the strategy "provided a coherent framework for the first phase of the market ramp-up," which went off to a good start. "We have managed a lot since then," said economy minister Peter Altmaier. "We provide more than eight billion euros for 62 hydrogen projects, including two billion for the steel industry. This is future made in Germany!" The government also said that further ramp-up of the market and availability of sufficient import volumes "are the two decisive levers on which we must continue to work with all our might." 

German industry association BDI said the strategy must be implemented more quickly, and renewed its call for the government to not rely solely on green hydrogen made with renewable power but also use hydrogen made from natural gas. Municipal utility association VKU said the strategy's implementation is "not yet a success story, but a construction site." The lobby group warned against a narrow focus on heavy industry and called for joint regulation of both hydrogen and natural gas. According to energy newsletter Tagesspiegel Background, the government's hydrogen commissioner, Stefan Kaufmann, warned that Germany could lose out internationally due to a lack of clear responsibilities and coordination.

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, and the government penned its National Hydrogen Strategy to fulfil these ambitions.

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