Implementing the Energiewende (energy transition policy) using the appropriate key technology

Implementing the Energiewende (energy transition policy) using the appropriate key technology

Prompted by the EU’s Green Deal, the German federal government has made decisions that will result in a fundamental conversion of Germany’s entire power-supply system. It is pursuing the aim of using hydrogen to further drive the integration and use of renewable energies in order to decarbonise all energy-intensive sectors. To achieve this, the German federal government enacted the National Hydrogen Strategy in 2020, providing several billion Euros’ worth of funding for research, development and manufacturing.

Andreas Feicht, state secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, has emphasised this objective: ‘In Germany, we want to utilize the opportunities offered by hydrogen as an energy source and storage to become greenhouse-gas-neutral and fulfil our international responsibility to achieve the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement. It is also our aim to maximise the economic opportunities associated with hydrogen technologies.’

But implementing the Energiewende energy transition policy poses complex tasks for decision-makers bearing political responsibility in municipalities and federal states. It is rendered even more difficult by the fact that a number of political matters required in order for a hydrogen economy to run-up are yet to be adequately clarified.

The federal policy, for instance, appears to focus solely on green hydrogen – without factoring in a necessary transition period during which blue and turquoise hydrogen, which can similarly be produced climate-neutrally, could be used. Adding production capacities for green electricity – a pre-requisite for a high-performance hydrogen economy – is another grey area. A study conducted by Aurora Energy Research has found that demand by 2050 will be eight times today’s consumption. But where will these capacities come from if wind-power developments stall?

To enable a hydrogen-based energy supply, it is therefore imperative to consider import strategies for energy gases. HydroHub is advising players such as German port cities in this respect.

Open-ended questions we ask ourselves as consultants

Hydrogen as an energy source of the future is an undisputedly promising concept. The great white hope of the Energiewende energy transition policy can combust almost entirely free of emissions, and can be stored, transported and – if necessary – converted into electricity. While the initial steps are encouraging, the framework conditions for scaling quantities at an industrial level need to be adjusted. The way the market is designed at present, a hydrogen ramp-up would be thwarted by excessively high costs and excessively low capacities.

There is also a lack of incentives from CO₂ certificate trading, which could otherwise accelerate companies’ conversion to hydrogen. Certificate trading would give policymakers an additional tool for ascertaining where hydrogen is most in demand. This would then be a valid indicator for expediting the processes to connect these areas to a national hydrogen grid.

The industry is also awaiting reliable assurances from policymakers to start presenting investors with convincing arguments to already begin a systematic push for European hydrogen trading at a forecast 120 billion Euros in 2050.

The aforementioned and many other aspects see municipalities, communes, authorities and legislators faced with the challenge of creating the necessary framework conditions for a hydrogen economy run-up, keeping pace with technological developments – a task that also needs to comply with European regulations and standards.  

HydroHub is helping the public sector implement the Energiewende energy transition policy. Its services encompass technical studies, environmental impact assessments, and concepts for site development and import strategies, as well as for the financial viability of projects, and the pros and cons of political decisions when addressing the challenges associated with climate action.

Neutral advice for expert decision-makers

HydroHub supports municipalities and state governments with comprehensively verified recommendations for action that can be used as decision-making bases for sustainability-oriented political activities. This special expertise is founded on extensive knowledge and experience gained by advising market players from across the entire hydrogen value chain.

Let’s work together to achieve what’s possible for your region. Contact us, and we’ll assemble a team of experts for you.