BERLIN (dpa-AFX) - After a long struggle, the German government has agreed on a strategy for the construction of hydrogen-capable gas-fired power plants in Germany. Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) and Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) have agreed on the key elements of a power plant strategy as well as specifications for further projects, according to a joint statement on Monday.

According to the statement, the power plant strategy should create the framework for investments in modern, highly flexible and climate-friendly power plants that are capable of running on hydrogen in the future. In the short term, new power plant capacities of up to four times 2.5 gigawatts of hydrogen-capable gas-fired power plants are to be put out to tender. The requirements are to be financed from the Climate and Transformation Fund, a special federal fund.

According to coalition circles, the costs amount to around 16 billion euros over the next 20 years or so.

According to the announcement, it was agreed that concepts for a so-called capacity mechanism should be developed. A political agreement on this should be reached within the German government by summer 2024 at the latest. Such a mechanism could be used in a few years to reward operators for maintaining power plant capacities.

It was also stated that the planning and approval procedures for the power plants included in the power plant strategy should be substantially accelerated. The agreement reached on the power plant strategy will be discussed with the EU Commission in Brussels.

This was preceded by lengthy negotiations within the German government, particularly between Scholz, Habeck and Lindner.

The energy sector has long been waiting for a strategy for the construction of hydrogen-capable gas-fired power plants by 2030, by which time renewable energy plants are to be massively expanded. The German government's target is for 80 percent of electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2030. Currently, it is just over half.

The new gas-fired power plants are intended to step in during "dark doldrums" - when there is no wind and no sunshine - to cover the demand for electricity. However, energy companies have so far shied away from investing because the new power plants are not profitable.

Habeck had spoken out in favor of a state demand that could run into the billions. FDP politicians had pointed out the high costs of a requirement and called for "openness to technology".

The traffic light coalition had agreed to "ideally" bring forward the coal phase-out to 2030 in order to prevent the emission of climate-damaging carbon dioxide. So far, however, an eight-year earlier phase-out has only been agreed in the Rhineland coalfield. It is controversial in the coalfields in eastern Germany. New gas-fired power plants could primarily replace coal-fired power plants. They are initially to be operated with natural gas, but then increasingly with climate-friendly hydrogen./hoe/DP/men