In the first sitting week of the new year, the German Bundestag will discuss the Third Act to Amend the Energy Industry Act at its first reading. FNB Gas welcomes the submission of a draft law to create a legal and regulatory framework for financing the hydrogen core network and to anchor integrated network development planning for gas and hydrogen. This amendment to the Energy Industry Act is a prerequisite for the realization of the core grid and at the same time lays the foundation for the next expansion stages of the hydrogen infrastructure. This marks another important milestone on the way to establishing a hydrogen economy.
The financing framework already contains many good and important elements. However, as future core network operators, the transmission system operators consider a few but decisive changes to the planned regulatory framework to be necessary in order to ensure capital market viability. Otherwise, there is a risk that the core network operators will not be able to raise the funds from their shareholders and on the capital market for all the investments required to develop the entire core network.
The following adjustments are necessary to ensure the capital market viability of the financing concept:
- Deductible for the core grid operators (Section 28 s (2) EnWG): The capital market viability of the financing model must be ensured by a balanced risk/reward ratio. In line with the Federal Council’s decision of 15.12.2023, the deductible for core network operators should be reduced to 15% in 2055 and converted lines should not be included in the calculation of the deductible.
- Right to sell (Section 28 s (4) EnWG): The core network operators should be able to transfer their ownership of the hydrogen core network to the federal government without further condition in the event of the failure of the market ramp-up as determined by the federal government and a corresponding termination of the amortization account (by the federal government) in return for payment of the imputed residual value less the deductible to the federal government.
- Public law contract: A legally secure structure can only be achieved by concluding public law contracts. These are to be concluded by the federal government with the core network operators, the account-managing body commissioned by it and the Federal Network Agency.
- No special depreciation in the event of insolvency (Section 28s (3) sentences 8 and 9 EnWG-E): Even in the event of possible insolvency of individual grid operators, the scope of liability of the other core grid operators must not increase. Such a risk would represent a massive hurdle for investors’ decisions.
The complete position paper is available in both short and long versions in the downloads.