German engineering companies could be supplying enough electrolysers today to produce more than 1GW of green hydrogen a year, but the government needs to boost the expansion of renewable energy and allow all sectors to use power-to-x technologies, hydrogen, engineering and utility groups said.
“The target of 3-5GW in electrolyser capacity laid down in the proposal for a [national] hydrogen strategy could already be reached by the middle of this decade,” said Matthias Zelinger, climate and energy spokesman at German engineering federation VDMA.
“But if you would like to have green hydrogen, you can’t choke off renewable energies.”
Germany’s cabinet this week is expected to approve a proposal for a national hydrogen strategy that according to the latest draft seen by Recharge includes a 3-5GW target for electrolyser capacity in the country by 2030.
But while a massive build-up of green hydrogen production capacity would require an even much faster expansion of renewables, inconsistencies in the country’s energy transition make a target unlikely to reach a 65% share of renewables in Germany’s power mix by 2030, studies have shown.
“Without the use of renewable energies, no sector can contribute decisively to climate protection, ‘green’ energy carriers and the build-up of power production from renewable energies require each other,” said Zelinger.
The VDMA, together with Germany’s hydrogen and fuel cell federation (DWV) and the federation of municipal utilities (VKU), have produced a paper with demands to create the framework conditions needed for a market-based ramp-up of a green hydrogen industry in Europe’s largest economy.
In it, they demand creating a strong domestic market for hydrogen production. For that, the current build-up of renewables is too slow, the federations say.
In particular for wind energy on land, more areas should be made available as soon as possible, and the permitting process should become easier. The federations also suggest to hold tenders for offshore wind and electrolysers simultaneously.
Sectors such as transport must not be excluded during the expected ramp-up of a hydrogen industry in Germany, the groups said.
The government’s hydrogen strategy draft had proposed focusing on certain hard-to-decarbonise industrial sectors, but excludes automotive transport and heating until 2030.