BERLIN/ESSEN (dpa-AFX) - The National Hydrogen Council is calling for a faster development of a hydrogen economy in Germany. Four years after the formulation of the National Hydrogen Strategy (NWS), the hydrogen ramp-up is faltering, it said in a statement adopted on Friday. The location runs the risk of losing out in international comparison. "Without effective measures, the goals set out in the NWS are at risk of being missed - despite the (...) projects and initiatives that have recently been launched." The statement is primarily aimed at political decision-makers at all levels.

There are many commitments to hydrogen as an important pillar for decarbonizing the economy. "However, there is a growing gap between the politically defined level of ambition at national and European level and its practical implementation." This gap is reflected, among other things, in the difference between planned hydrogen projects and final investment decisions. "For example, the planned hydrogen production capacity in 2030 is over 10 gigawatts, but an investment decision has only been made for projects with a total of 0.3 GW."

Reliable framework conditions called for

According to the Hydrogen Council, there is growing uncertainty in energy-intensive companies as to whether hydrogen and hydrogen compounds will be available in sufficient quantities and on suitable terms. "If we do not create reliable framework conditions and a rapid development and ramp-up of the hydrogen economy now, there is a risk of value chains being shifted abroad - with corresponding job losses and losses in the competitiveness of many sectors of the economy that continue to rely on gas-based energy sources," it continued.

"Deindustrialization is by no means a threat - it is a real danger," said Katherina Reiche, Chairwoman of the Hydrogen Council. "Only with hydrogen can we strengthen value chains, keep key industries in Germany and achieve our climate protection goals."

Council calls for accompanying demand measures and a timely import strategy

Among other things, the Council called for accompanying demand measures from the public sector and state guarantees. Without such measures, the cost gap for hydrogen in competition with today's fossil fuels could not be closed. "These instruments are key to balancing the different risk and profitability expectations as well as the financing conditions of hydrogen producers and consumers." A prompt publication of the federal government's announced import strategy is also urgent.

The Hydrogen Council appointed by the German government is made up of 26 experts from business, science and civil society. The committee advises the State Secretaries' Committee for Hydrogen on the implementation of the National Hydrogen Strategy. It is chaired by Katherina Reiche, head of the energy service provider Westenergie, which is part of the Eon energy group. She sat in the Bundestag for the CDU from 1998 to 2015./tob/DP/jha