Update of the German National Hydrogen Strategy

With the cabinet’s decision of July 26, 2023, the German government agreed on an update of its National Hydrogen Strategy (NHS), which was adopted in June 2020.

The update of the NHS (Fortschreibung der NWS), which has now been published, comprises approximately 30 pages and heralds the second phase of the NHS implementation. The goals of the NHS are further specified in the update and listed under goals (Zielbild) as follows:

– Accelerate market ramp-up of hydrogen

– Ensuring sufficient availability of hydrogen and its derivatives 

– Establishment of an efficient hydrogen infrastructure 

– Establishment of hydrogen applications in the sectors

– Germany becomes the leading supplier of hydrogen technologies by 2030 

– Creation of suitable framework conditions

To achieve these goals, the update envisages short-term measures for the current year, medium-term measures for 2024/2025 and long-term measures for the period up to 2030. These measures are assigned to four major “thematic blocks” or “fields of action”:

1. Ensuring availability of sufficient hydrogen

2. Expanding hydrogen infrastructure

3. Establishment of hydrogen applications

4. Creating good framework conditions

The chosen order may be coincidental, but at any rate it seems to fuel (additional) concerns of the German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (DWV) regarding the prioritization on the part of the German federal government. The main reason being that, from DWV’s point of view, the main priority should be the creation of reliable framework conditions for the hydrogen industry in Germany, as can also be inferred from the following statements in a DWVV press release dated 26 July 2023: (Pressemitteilung)

“The framework conditions for a market design for the production, transport and use of hydrogen must be addressed now. (…) The ramp-up of the hydrogen market economy no longer depends on funding programs and demonstration projects, but needs reliable framework conditions for the next five years. The hydrogen industry is waiting in the wings for the federal government to create the right framework conditions. Only then can the necessary investment decisions be made.”

In addition, DWVV demands that “planning certainty must also prevail on the financial side and the corresponding programs in the federal budget must be reliably backed with funds for the next five years.” In fact, the question arises as to how much practical value is currently to be attached to the NHS when the following note is found in the update:

However, all measures mentioned here are subject to financing and can therefore only be implemented to the extent that they can be financed or counter-financed in the respective individual budget or special fund within the framework of the applicable budget and financial planning.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *