Germany’s Network for Wind Energy (WAB) has called on the government in the country to “take a firm decision” to ramp up production of green hydrogen and to accelerate the expansion of offshore wind, onshore wind and other renewables
WAB said relying on imported energy and not investing in renewables would make the future energy system in Germany more expensive.
“The Federal Government should rely on climate-friendly green hydrogen and only consider a supplementary import strategy in the long term,” said WAB. “In this way, the government could combine climate protection with jobs.”
WAB criticised the Federal Ministry of Economics which it said, in contrast, is relying on hydrogen from fossil fuels “without good cause” and on large-scale hydrogen imports, without planning a domestic market for green hydrogen from wind energy and other renewables.
The industry association highlighted a recent report by Agora Energiewende that said the federal government needs to achieve 25-28 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and significantly accelerate the expansion of onshore wind to meet its goal of 65% of electricity from ‘green’ sources.
“The current expansion of renewables is not even enough for the climate targets in 2030, let alone for the additional production of green hydrogen,” WAB said. “Onshore and offshore wind are already the cheapest forms of energy generation in northern Europe.
“We are committed to supporting an ambitious programme for producing green hydrogen in Germany. To achieve this, the federal government needs to remove the regulatory obstacles to green hydrogen production."
“At the same time, federal and state governments need to make sure there are sufficient areas available for onshore wind expansion, that planning and approval procedures are fast, and that their expansion targets for offshore wind energy are significantly increased,” said WAB managing director Heike Winkler.
The Agora Energiewende report said that to meet Germany’s climate targets for 2030, the amount of offshore wind in the German North Sea and Baltic needs to be increased from the current goal of 20 GW to 28 GW by 2030.
At the same time, it said, the rate of expansion of solar power needs to be more than doubled to 10 GW, or onshore wind energy needs to increase to 4 GW per annum. If this does not happen, WAB said, electricity will become more expensive.
WAB chairperson Irina Lucke said WAB is asking the German Government for at least 35 GW of offshore wind by 2035 and at least 50 GW by 2050. She cited a report by Fraunhofer that said the potential in German waters is at least 57 GW in that period.
“An ambitious and reliable expansion path for offshore wind will ensure a stable home market that companies in Germany need in order to utilise their existing production capacities, to tap their export potential and to create more jobs in the long term,” said Ms Winkler.
“This also applies to the green hydrogen economy. Electricity generation from renewable energy needs to accelerate and the first green hydrogen projects need to be facilitated. New offshore wind projects need to be put to tender as soon as possible to secure jobs."
Ms Winkler said the European Green Deal, which foresees up to 450 GW of offshore wind by 2050, could provide guidance for the German Government.
She noted that, to date, only the British Government has scaled up its plans in a similar way, laying the groundwork to expand offshore wind capacity to up to 75 GW by 2050.