For the first time, the OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY Foundation presented a demand and potential analysis for green hydrogen production by offshore wind energy in Germany.
Based on the revised spatial planning plan (ROP), calculations suggest that more than 60 GW of installable offshore capacity is achievable if all available options are employed.
This would also allow for the production of large volumes of green hydrogen. However, after the Bundestag election, the correct political and regulatory measures are required to fully realize the potential.
At a joint press conference in Hanover, Karina Würtz, the Foundation’s Managing Director, delivered the findings to Lower Saxony’s Minister of Environment and Energy, Olaf Lies. Lower Saxony is heavily invested in a “green transformation” of the energy system and economy.
“We feel confirmed by the study’s findings,” reads the statement. In Germany, much more offshore wind power is conceivable than we previously anticipated. By way of comparison, these 60 gigawatts would render the electricity produced by 60 major coal-fired power plants obsolete.”
“As a result, the potential is great, demonstrating that we are not shutting down electricity in Germany; rather, we now have the possibility to further grow this new form of climate-friendly power generation, with the related consequences on jobs and investments along the coast.”
“Because clean electricity and clean gas are the future of our energy. At the same time, with just about 7.5 GW of installed capacity thus far, we are running out of time. In light of this, it is now vital to set expansion goals that will allow us to attain climate neutrality rapidly. In this case, 40 GW in 2040 is simply insufficient. Chemicals, electromobility, heat pumps, and, last but not least, green hydrogen all require a significant increase in renewable energy generation.”
For the first time, the findings indicate the immense potential of offshore wind energy combined with green hydrogen production for Germany.
“We are confronted with the repercussions of the worsening climate disaster on a monthly basis,” Würtz continues. As a result, we as a foundation believe that all climate protection efforts must take precedence above all others. More than 60 GW of wind energy at sea is mathematically achievable in the current spatial planning – with consistent utilization of all potentials contained in the existing spatial planning plan, including the temporary priority region of shipping – and this does not yet include co-use potentials.”
“As quickly as feasible, we need an expansion path in this direction. Furthermore, a portion of the energy generated might be used to manufacture green hydrogen, contributing significantly to the German National Hydrogen Strategy’s 2040 goals. In addition to areas for pure power generation, the future federal government must set a binding aim and designate sufficient marine areas for offshore hydrogen production.”
“As part of a cooperative industry initiative, we also support this. Offshore wind farms that have recently been approved will take six years to build, and we are running out of time. Now is the time for ambitious goals and a coordinated set of implementation methods. We hope to provide a matching impetus with the study.”
Minister Lies was similarly persuaded by the study’s findings: “The report clearly demonstrates that offshore wind energy is a critical component in meeting climate targets.” We won’t be able to reach climate neutrality or the necessary volumes of electricity and hydrogen without offshore expansion.
“As a coastline state, the expansion of offshore-based hydrogen generation in the North Sea is critical for Lower Saxony. The hydrogen produced in this way will make a significant contribution to the decarbonisation of the steel and chemical industries in Lower Saxony and beyond.”
“The development of a hydrogen economy, driven by offshore wind energy, offers a wide range of economic opportunities along the entire value chain, from the construction, installation and operation of offshore plants and electrolysers to hydrogen distribution, hydrogen storage and hydrogen use. Due to its seaports and existing transport and storage infrastructure, Lower Saxony has all the prerequisites for the establishment of a hydrogen economy.”
According to the calculations, more than 1.2 million tons of green hydrogen (up to 44.2 terawatt hours (TWh))could be produced annually if the calculated wind energy capacity, which is above the 40 GW anchored in the Wind Energy at Sea Act for electricity generation, were used exclusively for hydrogen production.
By way of comparison, the National Hydrogen Strategy provides for a hydrogen production target of 28 TWh by 2035/40.
For the study carried out by Deutsche WindGuard, various assumptions were used in the area of influencing factors on the wind farm and electrolysis side. These were in particular the power density (installed megawatts per square kilometer), full load hours (degression in the case of another offshore extension) as well as the design and efficiency of the electrolysers.
In addition, the availability of space has been investigated as a decisive factor. As a reference point for the creation of the two scenarios (“ROP Basis”, “ROP Plus”), maritime spatial planning, which has been in force since 1 September, was chosen. Thanks for staying up to date with Hydrogen Central. The ROP Plus scenario includes all designated priority and reservation areas as well as conditional areas and the temporary priority area in Shipping Route 10.
For example, with an assumption of 8 MW per square kilometre of power density, as is currently the basis of the land development plan, more than 60 GW of installable wind energy capacity was determined. Both scenarios exclude potentials in the territorial sea (2 GW) and in the Dogger Bank (4-6 GW).