Hydrogen has now reached the highest political level: Even before the summer break, Chancellor Angela Merkel had already spoken out in favour of an H2 strategy for Germany. It was therefore she who set the course for the energy turnaround, even before Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmeier publicly announced the presentation of a corresponding concept at the end of the year.
The German Federal Council has also been dealing with this topic for several months now. Several country representatives are trying to adapt the current legislation, after years of little progress.
Hydrogen was on the agenda of the German Federal Council on 11 October. Lower Saxony promoted the set-up of an H2 economy and the corresponding implementation of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) into German law. It also called for a reform of taxes and levies in the energy sector to make green hydrogen competitive. Thomas Bareiß, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, also agreed: “I believe that hydrogen will be a very, very important building block for the energy turnaround, for climate protection. We need to move faster here. We need more courage, more money, more initiatives. I believe that the hydrogen strategy will be a very, very important building block here too, together with the federal government and state governments.”
Then, on 8 November, the proposal submitted by Brandenburg for the ambitious implementation of the European Renewable Energies Directive RED II was adopted by a large majority. This was accompanied by a call to the Federal Government to go well beyond the target set out in RED II with the implementation, namely that by 2030 fuel must contain 14 percent renewable energies. The old and new Economics and Energy Minister of Brandenburg, Jörg Steinbach, proposed “at least 20 percent”. On this he said: “Only in this way can it become an initial spark for Power-to-X technologies. And only in this way will electrolysis capacities be created for the conversion of renewable electricity into hydrogen.” He also announced that he would also exert “pressure at European level” to ensure that the remaining legislative acts were “adopted swiftly”. His goal is that the Lusatia region remains an energy and industrial region.
Back and forth
Earlier, in the spring of 2019, the topic of hydrogen had caused a stir in the German Federal Council, when shortly before the meeting at the beginning of April it was leaked that the Federal Ministry of Economics wanted to introduce a change in the law, which would have led to a worse position for hydrogen production. The change could no longer be prevented due to the short time available. But almost overnight, the representatives of the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein campaigned for a protocol declaration stating that this process should be reversed as soon as possible. As a result, the planned change in the law first came into force on 13 May 2019, but was reversed in September 2019.
read more in H2-international January 2020