National hydrogen network company could accelerate grid development – research institutes
Tagesspiegel Background, Clean Energy Wire
With the development of green hydrogen forming a key part of Germany’s energy transition, leading research institutions have thrown their support behind the idea of establishing a uniform hydrogen grid company, possibly with state participation, to oversee the conversion and expansion of the country’s gas pipeline network as part a move towards developing hydrogen infrastructure, Tagesspiegel Background reports. The economy ministry could propose such a structure in its upcoming update of the national hydrogen strategy, an early draft has shown. Yet, the majority of the 16 gas transmission grid operators have been critical of the idea. In a background paper, the research institutions, which include the Technical University of Berlin, the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Infrastructures and Geothermal Energy (IEG), the Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility (IKEM), Consentec and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion recommended the creation of a unified operating company. “The creation of a national hydrogen grid company involves an initial effort, but can significantly accelerate the overall grid development, as the process runs through a single institution with a clear mandate instead of up to 16 actors with complex interests and ownership structures,” they said. They added that state participation in a grid company “would not be unusual and could significantly simplify and accelerate the ramp-up process.”
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. Industry association BDI recently criticised an early draft of the strategy as insufficient for the country’s “urgently needed ramp-up”.