Siemens Gamesa chief executive Andreas Nauen tipped the North Sea to lead the way as offshore moves to take the lion’s share what could be a 620GW additional opportunity for the wind industry from green hydrogen over the next quarter century.
Nauen predicted onshore wind will lead in powering renewable hydrogen for the next 15 years or so, before offshore ramps up to dominate massive turbine deployments linked to electrolysers.
Speaking at an investor presentation of hydrogen strategy by parent group Siemens Energy, Nauen cited forecasts for a 60GW additional turbine fleet outside China dedicated to green hydrogen by 2030, with 50GW of it onshore.
But by 2035 the mix could be 170GW onshore and 105GW offshore under the high scenario of figures cited from analyst IHS. By 2045 that switches to a high scenario of 230GW onshore and 390GW offshore in a 620GW potential green H2 deployment. That would be on top of the 1,370GW needed for electricity production under the same forecasts.
“There could be a huge additional business”, from green H2, said Nauen. “Offshore it will start slow and it will start small.”
But from the 2030s “the North Sea will be an ideal starting point, with excellent wind resources [and] strong demand for hydrogen” for major offshore wind-linked green H2 production, said the Siemens Gamesa chief, citing “fantastic” capacity factors for turbine operation in the region.
“We believe this large-scale hydrogen market will take off in the North of Europe.”
Recharge reported earlier this year how Siemens Gamesa is developing an integrated solution linking its 14MW turbine and electrolysis for gigawatt-scale offshore deployment.
Green competitive by 2025
Siemens Energy sees green hydrogen from wind power as competitive with the grey variety from unabated fossil fuels as soon as 2025 at large-scale projects with the best operating conditions, said the executive leading its H2 strategy.
A 100MW electrolyser at 6,000 operating hours per year fed by wind power produced at $16/MWh could match the $1.5/kg benchmark for grey hydrogen mid-decade, the group’s strategy day was told.
“But it must be big. Electricity price is extremely important,” said Armin Schnettler, EVP of the New Energy Business at Siemens Energy, as he named the three factors decisive in the cost of hydrogen production.
“Firstly electricity price, secondly the operating hours, then the Capex and Opex [of the electrolyser and other systems].”
Schnettler cited Siemens Energy’s pilot plant in Chile with Porsche, Enel and others making e-fuels as an early example of how “fantastic wind conditions” could be tapped for low-cost power.
Various estimates have been made by industry players over how fast green hydrogen can realistically be brought to competitive levels with the grey variety that currently dominates the market, but Siemens Energy claimed a combination of industrialisation of electrolysers and what CEO Christian Bruch called “massive deployment of renewables” could see parity achieved relatively fast for some industries.
Bruch said some transportation applications like heavy trucks and rail “already today can draw up a use case under certain conditions [for] commercial operational based on reasonable green hydrogen cost”.