German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said at a Russian-German conference that Germany will need natural gas from Russia as a bridging technology as it transitions to cleaner energy, but that the country will also pursue cooperation on its hydrogen strategy.
As Germany abandons nuclear power and coal-to-power generation, Altmaier said that gas will be required, but that the country will continue to expand on its existing fossil fuels partnership as it develops hydrogen from renewable sources as an alternative fuel.
Germany hopes to grow large-scale green hydrogen by using renewable energy sources such as wind and sunlight to create synthetic fuel for industry, energy, and transportation.
Since the roll-out of domestic production capacity would be hindered by land constraints, the country’s 9 billion euro ($10.90 billion) hydrogen promotion program, announced last summer, anticipates significant import requirements.
In remarks posted by the Russian government online, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said during the webcast meeting that the two countries had decided that it was critical to pursue joint hydrogen energy projects.
In response to the German team’s suggestions, he said he would order the Russian energy ministry to present one or two preliminary project ideas.
Both countries will benefit from increased energy cooperation, which would include Russia’s development of renewables and hydrogen value chains, according to Novak.
Nord Stream 2
Nord Stream 2 is nearly complete, and the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. If completed, the new infrastructure would double the Nord Stream network’s current capacity, allowing for the annual transit of up to 110 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea’s bottom.
According to Michael Kretschmer, Minister-President of the eastern German state of Saxony, Germany is interested in importing reliable natural gas from Russia and would like to see Nord Stream 2 operational as soon as possible.
As of March 31, about 121 kilometers of the project remained unfinished, with 93 kilometers in Danish waters and another 28 kilometers in German waters. Despite two rounds of US sanctions, which caused many contractors, insurers, and certification firms to pull out of the project, work on Nord Stream 2 resumed in late December 2020.
Despite repeated attempts by Washington to derail Nord Stream 2, either by sanctions or by citing side issues such as allegations of Russian hacking, election meddling, and other heinous acts against Germany and other European nations, German authorities have consistently defended the $10.5 billion initiative.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week that Berlin continues to support Nord Stream 2 despite opposition from some European countries. Other cabinet members have cautioned against canceling the infrastructure initiative, with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas recently describing it as a “bridge” between Moscow and Europe, and implying that canceling it will bring Russia and China closer together.