To each their own hydrogen strategy


Once again, the two major German political parties lock horns over the national hydrogen strategy, increasing pressure on the governing coalition to decide before the summer recess. In early May, twelve MPs from the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) circulated a statement demanding a rapid escalation in renewable hydrogen facilities and calling for new partnerships with African countries.
Hot on the CDU’s heels, the Social Democrats (SPD) issued their version, pressing for a more ambitious hydrogen strategy and faster capacity additions.

Anja Weisgerber, CDU/CSU’s special climate change envoy, also signed the position paper, urging her executive branch colleagues to act. She told dpa: “We must clearly plot out our national hydrogen strategy and we need to do it now, if we expect to build a larger number of clean hydrogen production facilities in the very near future.” The proposal said: “The federal government needs to stop delays. We must broadcast a viable hydrogen strategy and lead the world in establishing a green hydrogen economy.”

The Social Democrats seem to be equally impatient. Their MPs on the Business and Energy committee have drawn up their own document, listing key points and concrete plans they deem necessary to a sustainable hydrogen strategy. They reject, for example, funding systems that produce non-renewable blue or turquoise hydrogen and require a time limit on the usage of non-green variants. They also call for an increase in electrolyzer capacity that extends to at least 10,000 megawatts by 2030.

The megawatt figure triggered many heated debates. Some, such as NOW (National Organization for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology), consider 5 gigawatts to “be quite ambitious enough.” Others, including Brandenburg’s economy ministry, believe the number to be “too low.” According to energate, the federal economy ministry has long argued that limited space prohibits installing a large number of electrolyzers. Too many of them will greatly increase demand for green energy, requiring even more renewable energy capacity if Germany is to meet its goal of 65 percent green power by 2030 (currently at 40 percent). This puts the economy minister in a tight spot. In the end, he is accountable for meeting Germany’s targets.

read more in H2-international August 2020

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