Energy from renewable Canadian sources, shipped for the first time in as little as three years – various foundations have to be laid for the new alliance with Ottawa under the pressure of the Ukraine war.
Germany and Canada have agreed on long-term cooperation for the production and transport of hydrogen. German Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) and Canadian Energy Minister Jonathan Wilkinson signed an agreement in Stephenville in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador that will lead to the export of hydrogen from Canada to Germany starting in 2025.
Habeck described the agreement as a milestone: “Green hydrogen is an important key to a climate-neutral economy. We must resolutely drive forward climate protection in order to secure prosperity and freedom. This is more important and urgent than ever these days.”
The signing took place in the presence of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Scholz said the agreement would elevate the partnership with Canada to a more strategic level: “Every time we’ve been here, we’ve felt that the future is within reach.” Changing the world is possible, he said – toward a carbon-neutral economy that creates good jobs at the same time. The partnership is a “very, very big success,” he said.
Abundant wind and land
Newfoundland is considered a favorable location for the production of green hydrogen, which is generated with the help of renewable energies. There is plenty of wind in the sparsely populated region and plenty of land to convert it into energy. Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is forcing Germany to diversify, particularly in the energy sector. Although Canada also has liquefied natural gas (LNG) to offer, Germany could only benefit from it in the medium term because pipelines and terminals are still lacking for transport across the Atlantic. During the trip, the focus was therefore on hydrogen production.
Trudeau spoke of a “historic step forward”. The agreement will create jobs, promote the local economy and contribute to the production of clean energy, he said. He said he has always been “deeply connected” with Scholz on the goal of combating climate change while growing the economy.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Republic and Canada says the cooperation aims to “boost the hydrogen economy and create a transatlantic supply chain for hydrogen well before 2030, with first deliveries planned for 2025.” While Canada is expected to pour billions into developing technology and infrastructure, the federal government will help domestic importers build an international trade corridor, it said.
Focus on supply chains and logistics
Another focus is to be on joint efforts in research and development to advance the development of supply chains and logistics. In addition, uniform standards would have to be created in production and cooperation between ports on both sides of the Atlantic would have to be promoted.
The use of hydrogen does not produce greenhouse gases. However, the production process requires a large amount of energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. This electrolysis is only climate-friendly if sustainably produced energy is used, for example electricity from the sun or wind. In principle, hydrogen can serve as a basis for fuels to replace coal, oil and natural gas in industry and transportation. Because its production is very energy-intensive, hydrogen is currently still significantly more expensive than fossil fuels.
Scholz and Habeck will spend three days in Canada with a business delegation. The signing of the agreement will conclude the trip. Both will fly back to Berlin in the evening (local time).