Germany improving efforts to meet 2030 hydrogen goals

Germany is getting nearer to goals for developing a green hydrogen market by the end of the decade, one of the country's biggest utilities E.ON said on Friday, updating a less optimistic briefing issued six months ago.

Germany, which wants to achieve 10 gigawatts of green hydrogen capacity by 2030, has over the past six months seen new projects emerge and of bigger sizes, E.ON said.

Produced using solar and wind power, green hydrogen has been embraced by industries such as steelmaking or cement as a way to replace millions of tons of "grey" hydrogen made with gas.

E.ON said the experience of disrupted gas supplies from Russia and climate concerns have prompted Germany to accelerate its shift towards renewable energy.

"Plans for hydrogen generation capacity planned by 2030 has increased to 8.1 gigawatts (GW) in February 2023, compared with 5.6 GW in July (2022)," E.ON said.

"This makes the government's goal of achieving an installed capacity of 10 GW by 2030 seem more achievable."

Assuming annual hydrogen demand of 66 terawatt hours (TWh) by 2030, the future gap to be covered by imports has also shrunk, E.ON said.

The gap now stands at an expected 43.5 TWh rather than 50.5 TWh assumed last November.

But there were challenges: many projects still need final investment decisions (FID) and a network fit to transport green hydrogen is far from being in sight, it said.

Plans for new pure hydrogen pipelines - rather than repurposing existing natural gas grids - have risen to 2,813 km from 2,273 six months ago, however, only 417 km of hydrogen pipes are currently operational.

The European Commission's rules in February on what could be counted as hydrogen of "green" origin, which included nuclear-based energy, were "a necessary basis" to invest in a hydrogen market, said E.ON.

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