German cabinet approves law to enable rapid expansion of H2 infrastructure



Germany’s federal cabinet has today (Wednesday) agreed a new law that aims to facilitate a rapid expansion of the country’s hydrogen infrastructure with a leaner, faster planning regime.


Robert Habeck, Germany's federal minister for economics and climate protection.Photo: EU/Lukasz Kobus


The so-called Hydrogen Acceleration Act, which still has to pass through parliament, “accelerates, simplifies and digitises the relevant planning, approval and procurement procedures”, said the federal department for economic affairs and climate protection (BMWK).


The act applies to green hydrogen production facilities, as well as for H2 pipelines, hydrogen and ammonia import terminals, ammonia crackers, power lines supplying electrolyser installations and other infrastructure, such as import terminals and processing facilities for liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC).


In particular the new law overrides certain environmental and procurement requirements imposed on developers, as well as introducing or shortening deadlines for officials to make decisions on key planning milestones, such as those allowing access to water and digital infrastructure, and for environmental permitting.


The bill also promises measures to accelerate court proceedings relating to permitting, and digitalises the application and decision-making processes in order to improve efficiency.


On water in particular, it also allows green hydrogen developers status of “overriding public interest” in allocating water supply in areas where there is no fear of drinking water shortages. In water-stressed areas, however, the public interest argument would not apply.


The new draft law is just one of a raft of new laws aiming to rapidly expand hydrogen infrastructure in Germany, either with massive financial support from the government, central infrastructure planning or with regulatory incentives.


An upcoming amendment to a building law aims to make planning easier for green hydrogen projects, with small electrolyser installations of up to 5MW exempt from some permitting requirements altogether.


“An efficient hydrogen infrastructure is of crucial importance for the decarbonisation of industry,” said Robert Habeck, minister for economic affairs and climate protection. “The hydrogen pipelines will be the lifeblood of the industrial centres. Time is running out. In order for electrolysers or import terminals to go into operation as quickly as possible, we need leaner and, above all, faster planning and approval procedures.”


“With the Hydrogen Acceleration Act, the course has now been set. The law removes obstacles to the approval of infrastructure projects that produce, store or import hydrogen. This is another milestone on the way to the hydrogen economy.”


Source: HydrogenInsight


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