'Nucleus of a sustainable hydrogen economy' | East German states band together to lobby on H2 pipelines and regulations




While the region has high existing demand for hydrogen, it is expected to lag behind other states in electrolyser installations


Six German states have launched a new lobbying group, the Initiative for Hydrogen in East Germany (IWO), in an effort to push for hydrogen regulations and infrastructure to benefit the region’s industrial clusters.


Brandenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, and Thuringia — the five states that made up the former East Germany — as well as the city-state of Berlin plan to submit two proposals via the IWO to the upcoming state energy ministers’ conference in May.


The first proposal will cover regulations that will support hydrogen projects, while the other will focus on expanding distribution networks — ie, pipelines — for green H2.


“With the establishment of the new hydrogen initiative, we are pooling our efforts for this topic of the future,” said Saxony-Anhalt's state secretary for energy, Thomas Wünsch.


He added: “If the six states consistently pull together, the East can become the nucleus of a sustainable German hydrogen economy — with great opportunities for sustainable jobs, new value creation and securing our energy-intensive industry on the way to climate neutrality.”


The states in IWO currently host major chemicals and oil refining businesses, such as TotalEnergies’ Leuna refinery and Dow Chemical’s works in the so-called “Central German Chemical Triangle” in Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony.


A number of projects in the region are already under construction, such as VNG’s 30MW facility in Bad Lauchstädt energy park which will supply the Leuna refinery with green H2 from late 2025.


However, installations to date have lagged behind states in Germany’s northwest and southeast.


According to the latest data from the government-backed Hydrogen Compass, Bavaria is the regional leader with 76.5MW of electrolysers, or 45% of the 170MW of capacity installed to date, followed by 36.1MW in North Rhine-Westphalia.


Mecklenburg-West Pommerania meanwhile ranks third in the country with 23MW of green hydrogen projects, making it the leader within eastern Germany.


But while nearly 2.8GW of planned projects by 2030 will be located in the east German state, this is still outpaced by an announced 3.8GW in the northwestern state of Lower Saxony by that year.


The German federal government has announced plans for a 9,700km “core network” of hydrogen pipelines linking up supply and demand between different states, which is scheduled to be fully operational by 2032.


This includes a connection between the Central German Chemical Triangle and Salzgitter in Lower Saxony.




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