Germany has long been known for its ambitious plans to transition away from fossil fuels, and green hydrogen has been a critical element in this strategy. However, the country can only meet 30% of its own needs for this clean fuel, according to German Economy Minister Robert Habeck. This shortfall has led the country to search for trade partners to deliver the remaining 70% of its green hydrogen needs.
Green hydrogen is produced using solar and wind power, making it a clean and sustainable fuel alternative to fossil fuels. Berlin’s plan to transition away from fossil fuels is anchored on the use of green hydrogen. However, the country’s inability to meet its own demand highlights the challenges of relying solely on renewable energy sources.
Habeck, whose ministry is responsible for energy and also serves as deputy chancellor of Germany, emphasized the need for partnerships to avoid too much dependency on individual nations. Contracts and memorandums of understanding are being drafted to secure green hydrogen imports.
Germany has been a leader in renewable energy and has a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030. However, the country’s efforts to produce green hydrogen are hindered by limited domestic production capacity. Berlin’s quest for trade partners to deliver the remaining 70% of its green hydrogen needs highlights the need for international cooperation to accelerate the transition to a carbon-neutral economy.
The global demand for green hydrogen is rapidly increasing, with countries such as Australia, Chile, and Saudi Arabia making significant investments in their production. The EU has also set a target of producing up to 40GW of green hydrogen by 2030. By partnering with these countries, Germany can potentially access a reliable and affordable supply of green hydrogen to support its ambitious renewable energy goals.
SPD supports gas network operators in the dispute over hydrogen networks
As the world moves towards renewable sources of energy, hydrogen has emerged as a promising fuel with the potential to power vehicles, buildings, and industry. However, the development of the hydrogen economy requires the establishment of an extensive infrastructure for the production, storage, and transportation of gas. In Germany, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) is calling for the operators of gas networks to be given a strong position in the future hydrogen market.
Jens Geier, head of the SPD deputies in the European Parliament, argued that the gas industry, which is often anchored in municipalities, should take over the development of hydrogen networks. “This is important for the timely supply of energy-intensive industry,” he told Der Spiegel. The SPD’s proposal is in opposition to the European Commission’s current proposal, which prohibits gas network operators from owning hydrogen networks in the long term.
In February, EU parliamentarians voted in favour of allowing the joint operation of regional gas and hydrogen networks, but the Council of Member States has yet to make an official decision. Geier is proposing that the regulation of the hydrogen economy be left to member states, giving each country the ability to decide which energy system best suits its needs.
The SPD’s proposal is a departure from the traditional approach of separating gas and electricity networks. However, proponents argue that the existing gas infrastructure can be used to transport and store hydrogen, reducing the cost and time required for building a new hydrogen-specific network. Gas network operators also have the expertise and resources to manage the hydrogen infrastructure, ensuring a smooth transition to the new energy source.
The SPD’s proposal also addresses the issue of the timely supply of hydrogen to energy-intensive industries. In order to meet the ambitious climate targets set by the EU, the demand for hydrogen is expected to grow rapidly. The efficient and reliable delivery of hydrogen to industrial consumers is crucial to ensure that they can operate sustainably.