Saxony-Anhalt is investing in green hydrogen as the fuel to power a climate-neutral economy. Recently Minister for Energy Professor Armin Willingmann reported on the hydrogen strategy of Saxony-Anhalt to the environment committee of the regional parliament and promised to make significant investments in infrastructure for the planned supply of hydrogen.
“From 2023, the Ministry of Energy intends to invest more than 55 million euros specifically in transnational projects to extend pipelines and expand storage facilities,” said Willingmann. The ministry has already earmarked the funding in the regional budget. “This allows us to ensure that Saxony-Anhalt can access the future European network of hydrogen pipelines. It will also help to keep businesses and jobs in the region’s energy-intensive industries here in the long term.”
Last year, the German government identified transnational infrastructure projects to create a European hydrogen network as “Important Projects of Common European Interest” (IPCEI) that should be implemented between 2023 and 2027. The requirement is that the German regions contribute 30 percent of the costs. The German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action recently published the actual amounts of funding required. The German government is planning to provide 130 million euros and the Ministry for the Environment 55 million euros for the implementation of pipeline and storage projects in Saxony-Anhalt.
The majority of the funding – 149.1 million euros – will be invested in hydrogen storage facilities in Bad Lauchstädt and in a pipeline between Bad Lauchstädt, Leuna and Salzgitter in Lower Saxony. A total of 35.7 million euros will be spent on two further pipeline projects. “Our goal is to make Saxony-Anhalt a pioneering region for green hydrogen. This means that investing in infrastructure is essential,” emphasised Willingmann. “We need to lay the foundations for the successful development of the region over the decades to come. It is important for us to look ahead and invest in the future energy supply, rather than indulging in short-term arguments about extending the use of existing fuels.”
With regard to the implementation of the hydrogen strategy, the minister explained that a whole series of other hydrogen projects had begun to take concrete shape. The gas company Linde has started construction of a modern electrolysis plant in Leuna with an output of 24 megawatts. The electrolyser will be able to produce 3200 tonnes of green hydrogen every year. It will be directly linked to the hydrogen infrastructure that already exists in the central German chemical triangle. The Zerbst Energy Park and the Energy Region of Staßfurt are also making good progress.
In the summer of 2021, the electrolysis test platform funded by the ministry and implemented by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft came into operation. Saxony-Anhalt invested 10 million euros in the construction of the facility. The hydrogen lab has five test stations and a technical centre for electrolysers with an output of up to five megawatts. It is the first pilot plant for testing and scaling up electrolysis systems to an industrial level that is fully integrated into a chemical park. The green hydrogen that is produced will be used on site and fed directly into the 157-kilometre hydrogen pipeline where it will be distributed to other industrial sites in the region.
“We need to further expand the generation of renewable energies in order to establish a green hydrogen economy in Saxony-Anhalt,” emphasised Willingmann. The goal of the hydrogen strategy is to commission an additional five gigawatts of solar and wind power by 2030 to provide the renewable energy required by a green hydrogen economy. “To achieve this, we have to accelerate our planning and approval processes and identify more sites. The federal government is primarily responsible for removing the red tape, but here in the region we must also play our part. The need for land must be taken into consideration in the new version of the regional development plan,” explained the minister.