Germany adopts national hydrogen strategy; towards clean energy

The fourth largest economy in the world will only focus on promoting ”green” hydrogen i.e. renewables

New Delhi: Taking the lead to become global leader in renewables, Germany on Wednesday adopted a national hydrogen strategy to enable the decarbonisation of transport and core domestic industries.

The fourth largest economy in the world will only focus on promoting ”green” hydrogen i.e. renewables only over fossil fuel hydrogen, snubbing the fossil fuel which dominates the industry.

After half a year of inter-ministerial debates, the government in Berlin has finally adopted its national hydrogen strategy.

With planned investments of at least 9 billion euros as unveiled in last week”s economic stimulus package, Germany is set to become a global leader in scaling up green hydrogen technologies.

The key elements of the strategy acknowledge that “only hydrogen produced on the basis of renewable energies (”green” hydrogen) is sustainable in the long term” and therefore this is the priority area of investment.

It includes creation of 10 GW of domestic electrolysis capacity for green hydrogen made in Germany by 2040 at the latest, half of it (up to 5 GW) by 2030 (current share of the global market is around 20 per cent), including the required additional renewable energy generation capacities.

Germany wants to focus the use of hydrogen on shipping, aviation, heavy goods transport and industry (starting with the steel and chemical industries).

These sectors will be the first to benefit from market incentives to make green hydrogen competitive such as tenders for electrolyser capabilities and quotas.

What about Europe?

The EU is expected to detail its hydrogen roadmap on June 24.

The EU Commission is also planning to launch a “clean hydrogen alliance” of EU member states, industries and research organisations this summer.

Claudia Kemfert, Energy economist with the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), said, “As economies emerge from lockdown, governments including Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and South Korea are looking at ways to keep skies clear and ensure energy security with clean alternatives.

“With the launch of its hydrogen strategy in the midst of economic recovery debates, Germany shows that long-term investments in zero carbon technologies are a necessary part of the crisis response.”

The new German hydrogen strategy also recognizes that just like coal, fossil gas doesn”t have a future.

Germany now officially engages in the global race to become world leader in hydrogen technologies.

But countries should have in mind that sustainable growth and resilient economies can only be achieved with green hydrogen based on renewable energies, Kemfert added.

Andrea Wiesholzer, Policy Advisor – Grids for the energy transition, Germanwatch, said: “The hydrogen strategy proves that the German government has understood that hydrogen can only be clean when it is based on 100 per cent renewable energy.

“Together with the EU, Germany proactively wants to push the design of ambitious sustainability criteria and reliable certification systems that help speed up the development of an international hydrogen market. If other countries want to be part of this discussion, they should get involved now.”


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