Ministry Leads Way for Hydrogen Networks

With a key point paper presented today, the German Ministry of Economics makes room for market-oriented investments and takes the hydrogen market launch up to speed. The ministry paper also leads the way for the upcoming revision of the TEN-E regulation and the third internal energy market package of the EU.

The Ministry of Economics presented the key point paper on a “transitional regulation for hydrogen networks” to a selected circle of associations today. Sebastian Bleschke, Management Director of the Initiative Erdgasspeicher (INES), took part in the presentation and comments:

„With the key points, the Ministry not only chooses a sound regulatory approach for hydrogen pipelines in Germany. It also outlines a possible path for the European development of demand-oriented and inter-connected hydrogen infrastructures which include gas storage as a key component. Starting the revision of the TEN-E regulation under the German Council Presidency and announcing the soon-to-be legal implementation of the key points, the Ministry creates a reliable legal framework very quickly and presents itself as a constructive moderator on the European level.”

The key points describe that operators of hydrogen pipelines can choose whether their network should be regulated (opt-in regulation) or the want to operate it privately. This approach not only protects already existing private hydrogen pipelines, but it also avoids an enforced regulation. The Ministry stated that the development of hydrogen networks needs to be supported with public funds. About 800 million euros from the German recovery package are therefore reserved by the Ministry to subsidize hydrogen networks.

The EU regulation for trans-European energy infrastructures (TEN-E regulation) allows states to use funds for market-participants to build up hydrogen infrastructures coordinated on a European level and compliant to state-aid laws. The European Commission presented a legislative proposal on December 15, 2020. Moreover, the Working Program of the Commission includes a revision of the third internal energy market package in the fourth quarter of 2021 to regulate competitive markets for decarbonized gases. The German government has positioned itself as a leading actor in both initiatives by creating its approach to hydrogen networks.

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