Germany Announces Billion-Euro Hydrogen Strategy

June 2020

The country’s governing cabinet has agreed a plan aimed at massively increasing environmentally produced “green hydrogen” energy both domestically and abroad.

“With this hydrogen strategy, we’ve succeeded in bundling all our various initiatives…for the first time in concrete goals and placed billions at the service of these goals,” said German Economic Affairs and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier at a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday, June 10.

Last year, Altmaier announced that Germany would strive to become the “world number one” in hydrogen energy technologies. The government’s strategy earmarks EUR 9 billion – on top of already allocated hundreds of millions – to ramp up Germany’s use of hydrogen as an energy carrier for transport, industry, heating and other applications.

Seven billion euros will go toward dramatically increasing capacity to produce green hydrogen from onshore and offshore renewable plants in Germany itself and getting it on the market. The goal is five gigawatts electrolysis capacity by 2030 and ten gigawatts by 2040. German Education and Research Minister Anja Karliczek stressed hydrogen’s ecological value, calling it “the central issue of the energy sector and the avoidance of CO2 emissions.”

“I’d like to make Germany into a hydrogen republic,” Karliczek added at the press conference.

Nonetheless, even if all goes to plan, Germany will also need to import large quantities of hydrogen in the future. To that end, a further two billion have been set aside to help countries outside the EU like Morocco establish hydrogen production facilities.

“Without Africa’s solar capacities, we won’t be able to achieve our goals,” said Gerd Müller, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development.

German industry representatives welcomed the government’s strategy.

“The only way to reach the goal of climate neutrality by 2050 is with competitively priced, domestic and imported hydrogen,” said Holger Lösch, the deputy head of the Association of Germany Industry (BDI) in a statement. “The hydrogen strategy paves the way for more closely linking the energy transition with industrial and climate policy.”

Part of the strategy is an increase in the number of fueling stations for hydrogen powered heavy transport vehicles.

“We welcome that along with passenger cars, utility vehicles are now part of the focus,” said Berlin hydrogen mobility company H2 MOBILITY in a statement. “The fundamental network (of fueling stations) will be expanded to 100 in  number in the coming months. As of 2021, further stations will open where utility vehicle demand is expected and where a public station makes sense to grow the network.”

Heiko Staubitz sees every reason for foreign companies to participate in this development in the German energy sector.

“The goals of reaching 5 gigawatts by 2030 and 10 gigawatts by 2040 will create a market in which companies can think and invest in industrial dimensions,” Staubitz says. “Along with large enterprises from Germany, the first companies from abroad have already set up shop.”

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