German Council for Sustainable Development calls for hydrogen to be second pillar of a successful energy transition

Berlin, 23.06.2020 – “Hydrogen must be made a key second pillar of the energy transition alongside renewable energies and is essential if the climate targets and sustainable development goals are to be achieved,” said Chairman of the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) Werner Schnappauf upon the Council’s publication of its recommendations regarding the German Federal Government’s National Hydrogen Strategy. Head of the Federal Chancellery Helge Braun had asked the Council at the beginning of the year to make some recommendations regarding pressing energy industry and climate policy issues.

The Sustainability Council welcomes the National Hydrogen Strategy in principle but urges the Federal Government to introduce it more quickly and more ambitiously: “We now need to think big and act swiftly. The Council is resolutely advocating for a green global hydrogen industry with clearly defined sustainability standards. To swiftly ramp up the hydrogen industry, the Sustainability Council therefore recommends that the Federal Government conclude a hydrogen pact founded on mutual responsibility and obligation with the industries which are first and foremost involved and affected,” Schnappauf said. It is important, he said, that a culture of dialogue be nurtured with the close involvement of environmental organisations, consumer protection associations, industry associations and development assistance organisations. Following consultation with the National Hydrogen Council, a joint road map should then be agreed upon by the policymakers and the relevant industry in a cooperative, concerted and reliable manner.

“Hydrogen offers huge decarbonisation potential for industry, for heavy goods transport and for aviation. Hydrogen is also urgently needed in the energy industry, using existing and creating new infrastructures. Renewable energies need to be expanded like never before over the next 20 to 30 years as a green hydrogen industry can only be built up with the help of renewable energies. What’s more, hydrogen finally makes energy from renewable sources storable,” explained Council member and Managing Director of Stadtentwässerung Dresden GmbH Gunda Röstel.

The Council makes eight key recommendations to the Federal Government:

  1. Define the terms of transitional periods and avoid “lock-in” effects
  2. Accelerate the expansion of renewable energies
  3. Make green hydrogen marketable in the medium to long term
  4. Make efficient use of the opportunities offered by hydrogen and swiftly secure its industrial ramping up
  5. Promote research and development in the area of hydrogen technologies
  6. Swiftly define sustainability standards for the roll-out of hydrogen
  7. Implement investment-boosting measures extensively and swiftly
  8. Build up and strengthen strategic partnerships in Europe and internationally

Publication of the position paper was preceded by intense debate within the Council, which is to be maintained and also complemented by additional Council activities relating to developments in the area of hydrogen. In addition, several of the Council’s members were just recently appointed to the Federal Government’s newly created National Hydrogen Council. The Sustainability Council believes this highlights the correlation between the two topics and emphasises how important a green hydrogen industry is to the sustainable development goals being achieved. The recommendations can be found in full here.

Media Relations:

Marijke Eschenbach
German Council for Sustainable Development
Office c/o GIZ GmbH
Potsdamer Platz 10
D-10785 Berlin
Telephone: +49 (0)30 338424-233