Germany passes bill to accelerate H2 permitting, deployment

The German government passed on Wednesday the Hydrogen Acceleration Act to create the legal framework for the rapid development and expansion of hydrogen infrastructure.

The bill aims to speed up, simplify and digitise planning, approval and procurement procedures. That means the federal cabinet is working to “remove obstacles” to projects that produce, store or import hydrogen, explains economy and climate protection minister Robert Habeck.

“An efficient hydrogen infrastructure is of crucial importance for the decarbonisation of industry; hydrogen pipelines will be the lifeblood of industrial centres,” he adds in a note seen by Kallanish. “Time is running out. So that electrolysers or import terminals can go into operation as quickly as possible, we need leaner and, above all, faster planning and approval procedures.”

As part of the draft law, regulatory requirements will be reduced; legal cases challenging projects and environmental impact assessments will be shortened.

For example, permitting for electrolysers is to be simplified, while for smaller devices – up to 5 megawatts – it will be eliminated. Large-scale electrolysers that run primarily on renewable power by the end of 2029 will benefit from “overriding public interest” status, provided there are no concerns about public water supply. Infrastructure projects will also benefit from the approach, which was widely used to expand renewables in the country. This means authorities will prioritise these projects in the approval process.

The law is scheduled to come into force at the end of 2024, helping Germany to make progress on its target of having at least 10 gigawatts of electrolysis capacity in 2030.

As part of the BMWK industry package, the cabinet also passed the Carbon Dioxide Storage Act, which will focus on the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon capture and usage (CCU) technologies.

Habeck says the act is an important “building block for the competitiveness of our industrial location”. It will enable both onshore and offshore storage of CO2. The next step is to finalise the details of the carbon management strategy.

Gabriela Farhangi UK