Since the publication of the National Hydrogen Strategy last year, the energy industry framework has changed fundamentally. This is what the National Hydrogen Council writes in a new key points paper. The existing high dependence of the German energy supply on fossil energy imports from Russia clearly shows the urgency of a sustainable diversification with regard to energy sources and suppliers. The importance of hydrogen has also increased once again as a result of the climate targets being brought forward.
The experts believe it is “imperative that the German government create the clear framework conditions this year to stimulate the development of hydrogen infrastructure and supply chains, industrial production of climate-neutral hydrogen and its derivatives, and industrial transformation and use in transportation.” In their paper on the revision of the National Hydrogen Strategy (NWS), they describe five measures that they believe should be implemented with high priority:
- Creation of a certification and trading system to establish a liquid hydrogen market.
- Rapid development and expansion of hydrogen infrastructure
- Rapid ramp-up of the availability of climate-neutral hydrogen and its derivatives through domestic production and, in particular, through early imports from other European and non-European countries
- Creation of a coherent (support) framework for the development of sales markets for hydrogen
- Research and development for a sustainable hydrogen evolution with a focus on the realization of large-scale and holistic demonstration projects.
Rapid development and expansion of hydrogen infrastructure imperative
In the opinion of the NWR, climate-neutral hydrogen and its derivatives will play a key role in this. As early as the second half of the 2020s, climate-neutral hydrogen and its derivatives could make a significant contribution to both diversifying energy imports and ensuring security of supply. To this end, however, it is imperative that the German government create the clear framework conditions this year to stimulate the development of hydrogen infrastructure and supply chains, the industrial production of climate-neutral hydrogen and its derivatives, and industrial transformation and use in transportation.
European proposals on unbundling must not be adopted in this form
According to NWR, the proposals on unbundling on the EU table are not helpful: “The vertical and horizontal unbundling regulations planned at the European level hinder the hydrogen ramp-up and must not be adopted as they are.” The NWR recommends that the German government urgently work to ensure that the forms of unbundling that have already proven themselves in practice, such as the ITO model, continue to be applied indefinitely in the future. In addition, the risk of the market ramp-up phase – either through immediate inclusion of hydrogen in the existing cost regulation for natural gas networks or through direct risk hedging by the state – would have to be cushioned.
Hydrogen necessary technology option for the decarbonization of the heating market
In terms of application areas, the NWR also recommends that the role of hydrogen in the heat sector be addressed more strongly than has been the case to date. With reference to recent study results, the paper states that hydrogen is a necessary technology option for decarbonizing the heating market, along with heat pumps and heat grids. The grid-based supply of climate-neutral H2 is therefore an important building block for achieving the medium- and long-term climate targets in the heating market. In this respect, the topic of H2 readiness must be stimulated both on the part of the heat generators and the necessary pipeline infrastructure.
Read the full key points paper with all five demands here: