The ambitious hydrogen technology expansion in Baden-Württemberg faces a perilous future following the Federal Constitutional Court’s budget ruling.
The state government is concerned about the potential loss of €380 million earmarked for crucial projects, including alternative drives and hydrogen refueling. The ruling challenges the federal government’s financial commitment and places lighthouse projects, particularly in the hydrogen sector, at risk.
The four lighthouse projects in the hydrogen domain, now in jeopardy, received substantial backing from the federal government. Cellcentric’s fuel cell factory in Weilheim, a joint venture between Daimler Truck and Volvo, was set to receive €253 million, with the state contributing €108 million. The Ipcei project funding structure, with 70% from the federal government and 30% from the state, aims to support groundbreaking and innovative ventures in line with the EU Commission’s directives.
Daimler Truck’s Pegasus project, a key initiative for developing emission-free, hydrogen-powered trucks for long-distance transport, is in jeopardy. The project, spanning locations in Stuttgart, Mannheim, and Wörth in Rhineland-Palatinate, faces uncertainty due to the funding challenges. Additionally, plans for two hydrogen refueling systems in Mannheim and Ulm, crucial for the state’s hydrogen infrastructure, are also at risk.
Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann sounded alarm bells, emphasizing the potential “dramatic effects” on Germany and the state. The loss of funding could lead to significant disadvantages in global competition, especially against countries like the USA and China, which have committed substantial funds to climate protection. Kretschmann urged the utmost priority for resolving the funding crisis, citing its critical importance for Baden-Württemberg.
With financial aid set to expire at the turn of the year, the uncertainty surrounding hydrogen initiatives in Baden-Württemberg intensifies. The state’s commitment to hydrogen technology and its ambitious projects faces a race against time to secure funding, navigate legal challenges, and ensure the continued progress of key initiatives.