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Germany Repurposes Underground Gas Storage for Green Hydrogen

Germany’s government approved on Wednesday a draft law to enable faster development of hydrogen projects and infrastructure by fast-tracking permitting and environmental checks for hydrogen production, storage, and transportation, government sources told Reuters.

The so-called Hydrogen Acceleration Law will give hydrogen projects priority in approvals, simplify permitting, and fast-track environmental impact assessments. 

Germany, which aims to become a carbon-neutral economy by 2045 – five years ahead of the EU and other major developed economies – already has a National Hydrogen Strategy in place. The strategy will help create a domestic market as a first step in market ramp-up by building appropriate hydrogen production capacity and developing technologies for the use of hydrogen on the demand side. Germany also plans to implement a regulatory framework for the development and expansion of the necessary hydrogen transport and distribution infrastructure. 

In a 2023 update of the National Hydrogen Strategy, Germany raised the target for hydrogen electrolysis capacities from 5 gigawatts (GW) to 10 GW by 2030, assuming that hydrogen demand in Germany will increase to 95-130 terawatt hours (TWh) by 2030, from around 55 TWh per year in 2023. The Strategy also sets out how hydrogen demand is to become even greater between 2030 and 2045.

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, bets big on hydrogen to decarbonize hard-to-abate industrial sectors including steelmaking and cement making. 

Last year, the European Commission approved under the EU state aid rules two German measures to support ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe in decarbonizing its steel production processes and accelerating its uptake of renewable hydrogen. Germany plans a $597 million (550 million euros) direct grant and conditional payment mechanism of up to $1.57 billion (1.45 billion euros) to support ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe. 

Separately, Germany’s state-controlled firm Securing Energy for Europe (Sefe) plans to invest around $543 million (500 million euros) in repurposing some of its underground gas storage sites and gas pipelines into infrastructure fit for storing and transporting green hydrogen, Sefe’s CEO Egbert Laege told Reuters in an interview earlier this year.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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