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22 Jul 2022, 13:43
Sören Amelang

Northern Germany has largest green hydrogen production potential – research ministry

Clean Energy Wire / Tagesspiegel Background

Rural districts in Northern Germany have the country’s largest potential for green hydrogen production due to their windpower capacities, according to a “Hydrogen Atlas” presented by the research ministry. "We want to accelerate processes and support municipalities in checking whether projects to develop a hydrogen economy in their region are actually worthwhile," said minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger of the Atlas’s aim. Among the country’s federal states, Lower Saxony comes out on top, followed by Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt. But it remains unclear which states will actually be in a position to fulfil their potential, project head Michael Sterner, from the technical university in Regensburg, told the energy and climate newsletter Tagesspiegel Background. "Bavaria has considerably delayed the energy transition by putting the brakes on the expansion of grids and wind power. This is now costing the high-tech state industrial sites," he said, pointing to a lack of cheap electricity from renewable sources.

Sterner added that Germany will require large amounts of green hydrogen to meet its target of becoming climate-neutral by 2045. "The demand is huge and amounts to 600 to 700 TWh, which is about three times the volume of all gas storage facilities,” he said. “Hydrogen is thus by no means the champagne of the energy transition, but along with renewable electricity, [it is] the main fuel for making Germany climate-neutral." Stark-Watzinger said Germany will always remain an importer of green hydrogen as it can be produced at lower cost in locations with higher renewable potential, such as Australia, Africa, and South America. But the country must press ahead with domestic production if it is to fulfil the government’s ambition of making hydrogen technologies an export success, she said.  

In the fight against climate change, hydrogen made with renewable electricity is seen as a vital tool for decarbonising sectors with particularly stubborn emissions, such as heavy industry and aviation. Germany is set to import the lion’s share of its future hydrogen requirements because it doesn’t have the space necessary for renewable production.

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