On the German North Sea coast, interest in hydrogen is reaching new heights. More and more organizations are discovering the technology, while an increasing number of communities are mapping out concrete plans, and the number of politicians pledging their support is becoming greater each day.
At the beginning of September 2018, several regional business associations in Cuxhaven signed a memorandum of understanding under the tagline: “Clean cruise liners only.” In it, they emphasized that, like in Hamburg, they were committed to reducing additional pollution, especially since Cuxhaven was a seaside resort and wanted to become a port for cruise liners once again.
By signing the document, the associations joined calls by Olaf Lies, the environment and energy minister in the German state of Lower Saxony, to produce clean hydrogen from wind energy and make Cuxhaven a showcase for sustainable energy supply.
In late November 2018, Lies presented a proposal for a hydrogen strategy to the Bundesrat, the legislative body representing the 16 German states. He called on the federal government to “seek out effective ways to unlock Germany’s potential and increase funding for large industrial hydrogen projects.” He then presented his seven-point program, explaining that “if we turn technological innovation into real-world application, we will not only give better protection to the climate, but we also increase prosperity and secure jobs. The industry goes where the energy does. It used to be that way and it still is. Green hydrogen will assume a key role as an energy carrier and a means of storage in the future. This makes it all the more important to set up a hydrogen strategy for the entire country to advance the transformation of the energy sector.” Else, progress would be reduced to “partial successes.” He went on to say that Germany had “the technology to benefit from hydrogen and convert it into carbon-neutral natural gas or directly use it in industrial processes. […] We should seize this opportunity.”
Economic forum on Helgoland
Shortly before, the independent mayor of Helgoland, Jörg Singer, had invited people to the Offshore Economic Forum. Someone from the economy ministry was supposed to deliver opening remarks at the event attended by around 70 people. However, as no one had yet been named to take charge of the ministry’s energy division, the task fell to Enak Ferlemann, who works at the transportation ministry and had been elected to the German Bundestag to represent Cuxhaven. He told the energy industry executives and politicians gathered at the forum on Helgoland that “today’s battery-powered electric vehicles are only one step on the way to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles,” adding the country needed to “create an industrial-scale market for electrolysis that splits water into oxygen and hydrogen. The amount of electricity required for it can only be delivered by offshore wind farms.”
Read more: January issue 2019