The discussion about rising energy prices is taking on ever greater dimensions. Now, German economic minister Robert Habeck wants to grant the German competition regulation agency (Bundeskartellamt) new rights. Swift to oppose such alleged unconstitutionality is not only Handelsverband Deutschland (the general association for commerce in Germany).
The heated nature of this debate indicates what this is really about: power. The inherited political-economic power structures are being shaken up as a result of Putin’s unspeakable aggression against Ukraine. And the rising inflation rate is fundamentally challenging established economic wisdom.
The federal government is trying to bring calm to the situation, but representatives of industry and business can sense that more is currently changing than just the European Central Bank’s key interest rate.
More and more players are just realizing that energy has been far too cheap up to now. In times of oil and gas abundance, there was no real incentive for many to use fossil fuels sparingly. After all, environmental damage and pollutant emissions have hardly been taken into consideration.
This is now changing ferociously: Europe wants to become independent from Russian energy imports. Concurrently, the transition to cleaner energy supply is to be advanced. This means that, at the same time, the transport sector will be electrified as far as possible and, in addition, industrial businesses will switch to renewable energies.
Against this background, it is clear that energy will never be as cheap as it used to be.
This also applies to hydrogen. H2 fuel was previously sold in Germany at a fixed price. This per-kilogram price for H2 was set for many years by the federal initiative Clean Energy Partnership – initially at 8 euros, then 9.50 euros. To H2-international’s inquiry, Kurt-Christoff von Knobelsdorff, managing director of the national hydrogen and fuel cell organization (Nationale Organisation Wasserstoff- und Brennstoffzellentechnologie GmbH, NOW), explained, additionally at the start-up of Hannover Messe, “It may well be that this politically set price will have to go up for the time being, because it is moves in the convoy with all the other fuel prices.”
And so it came to pass: Only one day later, H2 Mobility raised, for the first time since the company’s founding, the price of H2 fuel. As of June 7th, a kilogram of hydrogen will cost a uniform 12.85 euros at all fueling stations maintained by this industry consortium. According to information by the company, the cost of driving an H2 car per 100 km will nevertheless “continue to be lower than that for comparable trips with conventional fuels or with a battery-electric car using a publicly accessible fast-charging station.”[…]
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