Greenpeace Energy: Germany Must Rely Heavily on Renewable Hydrogen for Successful Climate Protection

By October 1, 2019 4   min read  (767 words)

October 1, 2019 |

GreenPeace Energy Study

Germany must rely massively on renewable hydrogen in order to achieve its climate goals. This is the result of two analyzes commissioned by Greenpeace Energy, which the eco-energy provider presented today in Berlin.

According to this, in a future completely renewable energy system, the demand for renewable hydrogen and the fuels produced from it, with 1,089 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year, will be higher than the demand for green electricity with 959 TWh. Today, the power consumption is 596 TWh. “In order for this amount of gas to be really green, the electrolyzers required for this purpose must also run on green electricity. If, on the other hand, coal-fired power with high CO 2 is used in their production this hydrogen does not help climate protection, but fuels the climate crisis, “said Marcel Keiffenheim, Head of Policy and Communications at Greenpeace Energy. “Here, the Federal Government with its climate protection package is just completely wrong signals. Although it wants to finally promote hydrogen, at the same time politics politically neglects the expansion of wind and solar energy, “warns Keiffenheim. “If we want more green gases, we also need a lot more renewable energy. The Climate Cabinet urgently needs to improve. ”

In their calculations, the experts of the Wuppertal Institute and Energy Brainpool used the greatest possible energy efficiency and corresponding savings. “But even if we maximize the electrification of the transport sector, battery-electric drives will not be an option for many years to air traffic, maritime shipping and relevant parts of truck traffic,” said Karin Arnold of the Wuppertal Institute, which had studied the transport sector for Greenpeace Energy , Arnold puts the energy requirement of an emission-free transport sector at 355 TWh per year. Of this amount, 107 TWh of electricity generated directly from battery electric mobility accounts for 249 TWh but more than double that of renewable gases and synthetic fuels, especially for air traffic.

In addition, gases produced from renewable energy, such as hydrogen or synthetic methane, are needed in important industrial sectors and in large quantities if large amounts of fossil fuels can not be replaced by green electricity. Green gases are also indispensable for the security of supply in a completely renewable energy system, for example in so-called “cold dark droughts” – longer phases with little wind and sun and high energy consumption.

“Electrolysers will be an attractive investment in the future. In the year 2040, we will be able to economically operate up to 115 gigawatts of electrolysers in Germany, “explained Fabian Huneke from Energy Brainpool. “This is partly due to the costs because electrolysers abroad – but also in Germany – use cheap surplus electricity. In addition, renewable gases will generate a high sales value. ”

To help bring about a breakthrough in technology in this country, Greenpeace Energy proposes a market launch program that is limited in time and volume. “At the same time, electrolysers should only be promoted at sites that are suitable for the network and when using energy-efficient methods,” says Marcel Keiffenheim. In an energy-efficient operation, electrolysers operate in hours with a particularly high proportion of renewables in electricity generation. According to Energy Brainpool’s analysis, 3,000 operating hours per annum would be an appropriate value, which also ensures the necessary cost-effectiveness of the plants. Only in these hours should the installations be exempted from the usual levies and levies on the purchase of electricity or be subsidized with an amount of this amount.

Such a market launch program is an “excellent investment for the future,” according to Keiffenheim: “We need the expansion of electrolyzers for the success of the energy turnaround, and at the same time open up attractive business areas that benefit our economy – and we act responsibly from the outset in terms of climate policy Focus on the operation of electrolysers at times with the highest levels of renewables. ”

Note to editors:
The two short studies “Power and H 2 Demand for a Decarbonised Transport Sector in Germany” of the Wuppertal Institute and “Renewable in all sectors – Sectors coupled with Power to Gas” by Energy Brainpool, as well as those of Greenpeace Energy and Energy Brainpool elaborated the “Support proposal for energy-efficient electrolysers” and the short version of all study results in a brochure can be downloaded below.


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