The European Commission has identified hydrogen as one of the key future technologies with particular importance for Europe. This should be particularly encouraged and supported in the future. (Important Projects of Common European Interest).
The European Hydrogen Valleys Partnership (EHV) is a European association that currently has more than 30 regions in 13 European countries. Hamburg is now a member of this partnership. Many regions combine the same general conditions and starting points. A typical example is the regions around the North Sea (Northern Germany, Northern Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Scotland), which have similar goals in the expansion of renewable energies and the sector coupling of excess wind and mobility and industry. In this respect, we have something more in common with the northern Netherlands than with the countries in southern Germany. The aim of the EHV is to increase awareness of the importance of hydrogen in reaching European climate protection goals among decision-makers at European level and to prepare new and cross-border investment projects based on common interests.
Senator Michael Westhagemann: “The regions are key drivers of hydrogen technology. Right now we have to be innovative and look to the future. Because the corona pandemic will have consequences for the economy. It is now more important than ever to develop and promote sustainable and sustainable ideas. The topic of hydrogen is a huge opportunity for the entire economy and especially for industry. In my view, hydrogen technology should be given greater consideration as part of the funding programs now required to succeed the Corona crisis. This could have two positive effects: an immediate strengthening of the economy beyond the resumption of current business and its sustainable orientation of key sectors such as industry and transport. ”
By working closely with u. a. Groningen Hamburg already “lives” such transnational cooperation and will add further regions in the future and expand it at the specialist level. Another common interest is to work together at the European level to ensure that the legal and financial regulations, such as those for permits for production facilities or petrol stations, are standardized and simplified and that inappropriate additional burdens, for example through levies, are reduced. It is also about deepening the professional exchange and ensuring that the development of a self-sustaining hydrogen economy is taken into account in the European framework programs for the promotion of innovation and the climate protection of the next funding periods according to its importance. This applies to both the so-called Green Deal as well as the expected programs to overcome the consequences of the Corona crisis, which should combine the effect of promoting the labor market with positive and necessary adjustments in industry and transport. In this respect, the EHV is the logical extension of the North German hydrogen economy network to the European level as a kind of “coalition of the willing”.
The partners are currently still in the first phase of their cooperation, in which the common subject areas are developed in regular meetings. The next steps are their implementation in concrete industrial cooperation projects and parallel initiatives towards the European Union to ensure suitable support measures for regional but overarching community projects. The first joint projects are to be developed jointly in the second half of 2020. Hamburg will work in particular with the North Sea region.
Another joint initiative is the definition of future funding programs as a successor to the previous funding system (Horizon 2020) for the period until 2027. The EVH was expressly requested by the Commission to do this. Together with Groningen, Hamburg has already held a conversation with the office of Vice President Frans Timmermans in Brussels.