11 May 2020, 13:44
Edgar Meza

Members of Germany's ruling parties call for rapid increase in green hydrogen production

Handelsblatt/Energate Messenger

German research minister Anja Karliczek, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party, is pushing for a prompt government decision on a national hydrogen strategy, which had originally been expected a year ago. “At this rate, we cannot waste any more time,” Karliczek told business daily Handelsblatt. “It’s therefore important that this strategy be approved as fast as possible,” she added. While ministers are unlikely to make a decision on the matter at a planned meeting this Wednesday, the ministries have in recent weeks come significantly closer to reaching an agreement, writes Klaus Stratmann, citing government sources. The most recent draft for a national hydrogen strategy focuses on green hydrogen, produced from renewable electricity through water electrolysis, and blue hydrogen, produced via carbon capture and storage (CCS). It is the “goal of the federal government to use green hydrogen, to support a rapid market ramp-up for it and to establish corresponding value chains”, the draft plan states.

The left-of-centre SPD, Merkel’s coalition partner, is likewise calling for an ambitious strategy to ramp-up a hydrogen economy, energy news site Energate Messenger reports. The SPD parliamentary group is set to discuss the matter on Monday and Tuesday this week. The SPD’s economy and energy working group is calling for Germany to increase green hydrogen production capacity to at least 10,000 megawatts (MW) by 2030. Added to this are hydrogen imports as well as the establishment of a competitive European market. The working group calls for large-scale projects of more than 100 MW at the European level.

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. As one of the key drivers behind a pan-European effort, Germany has set out to become a global leader in "tomorrow's oil" – not only to launch the next stages of its landmark energy transition, but also to secure a promising growth market for its internationally reputed industry. The National Hydrogen Strategy is meant to flesh out these ambitions, and might become part of a "green stimulus" programme to restart the economy after the coronavirus crisis.

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