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Energy Transition

Green Energy News | July 2021

Germany is investing significantly in green hydrogen and other renewable energy storage technologies to meet its own ambitious climate protection targets.

Climate still main concern for Germans during pandemic

Climate change and environmental protection remain the main concerns for Germans – even during the coronavirus pandemic. A survey conducted on behalf of the German Environment Agency (UBA) finds that 65 percent of the population consider the environment to be one of the most important issues facing the country – only education, health and social justice polled higher. Respondents believe that more needs to be done in the energy, agriculture and transport sectors. Eighty percent of those surveyed also stated that they want Germany to take a leading role in international climate protection efforts.

German economy benefits from green-tech boom

Experts from the Federal Ministry for the Environment expect the global market for international technologies to grow by more than seven percent over the next decade. The findings, published in the GreenTech Atlas 2021, show that the country’s environmental sector is developing at an average annual growth rate of more than eight percent. This ecological transformation of the domestic economy is creating new market conditions and business model opportunities. A 2020 market volume of EUR 392 billion is forecast to more than double to EUR 856 billion by 2030 according to the study. The sector has been less affected by the Covid-19 crisis than the economy as a whole, generating 15 percent of GDP in 2020.

Residential solar battery numbers increase by 50 percent

The German Solar Association (BSW) has reported that the number of battery storage systems linked to residential solar photovoltaics rose by around 50 percent last year for the third year in succession. The agency believes that there were around 88,000 new residential installations in 2020, taking the total number of solar batteries in the country to around 270,000. The BSW expects demand for storage to continue growing, with demand being driven by falling prices, increased public climate protection awareness and increased demand for independence amongst consumers. The annual market for stationary battery storage is expected to double by 2025 in order to meet German climate and green energy provision targets.

World’s first underground hydrogen storage facility for Saxony-Anhalt

The Bad Lauchstädt Energy Park in Saxony-Anhalt is home to the world’s first large-scale trial of power-to-gas. The planned storage facility – around 700 to 900 meters below Goethestadt Bad Lauchstädt – will see a storage facility of up to 4,500 tons of climate-neutral hydrogen created. The project – the first to see hydrogen produced, stored and processed from wind energy on such a scale – was one of ten innovation projects to win the “Living Labs for the Energy Transition” competition launched by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research in 2019.

Germany gets behind green hydrogen

Germany’s green hydrogen economy is continuing to gather momentum with companies and research institutions putting their weight behind the transformative energy carrier technology. At the start of the year, the German government launched three flagship zero-emission hydrogen technology products, providing EUR 700 million in funding as part of the country’s ambition to establish itself as a global green hydrogen leader.

Green hydrogen technologies – also known as “Power-to-X technologies” – play a major role in the National Hydrogen Strategy and can be deployed to transform industry, transportation and heating provision in an environmentally friendly manner. Germany’s position as an industry nation makes domestic green-hydrogen production an imperative for the decarbonization of steel, transportation and chemicals.

A number of industries are already working on establishing their own small hydrogen economies, one example being energy group Uniper’s planned 410 megawatt electrolysis plant in Wilhelmshaven – the largest green hydrogen production plant planned to date. Germany's five coastal states – Bremen, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony, and Schleswig-Holstein – have joined forces to set up the HY-5 initiative to promote the hydrogen "region" internationally. With onshore and offshore wind farms, northern Germany is one of the most profitable regions for generating wind power in Europe. A number of large-scale electrolysis plants are currently being planned and built in the north, with capacities of 500 megawatts and 5,000 megawatts forecast for 2025 and 2030 respectively.

In other news, a group of companies – including BP, Evonik, Nowega, OGE, Salzgitter and RGE – have formed the “Get H”” consortium to supply their factories and refineries with green hydrogen by 2024. The Get H2 initiative is intended to map out the entire value chain of a hydrogen economy, acting as a blueprint for the green hydrogen industry in the country.

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