Agenda for ambitious offshore hydrogen production

Associations appeal to the future federal government

Green hydrogen will play a key role in the future energy supply system. Only hydrogen can decarbonize areas that are difficult to electrify. This results in a high demand for green hydrogen.

We therefore appeal to the future German government to create the conditions for ambitious hydrogen production by offshore wind energy.

To meet the demand for green hydrogen and to build a globally competitive hydrogen industry, a strong domestic market must be established in a timely manner. Local generation has the potential to reliably and sustainably increase the security of Germany’s energy supply. Hydrogen imports alone will not be able to meet these requirements.

Offshore wind energy is currently in the process of taking the next development step towards the production of green hydrogen at sea. With the possibility introduced in 2019 to define “other energy production areas”, the legal course was set to leverage the enormous potential of offshore wind energy for hydrogen production. This option was used for the first time in the Area Development Plan 2020. The German government’s “Climate Pact” of May 2021 also explicitly acknowledges the central importance of offshore hydrogen production, which is essential for an accelerated ramp-up of the hydrogen economy and for achieving the climate targets and the success of the energy transition.

With offshore hydrogen production, a new highly innovative field of technology is emerging along the entire value chains of hydrogen, wind energy and the maritime industry: From production to transport to the application of the energy carrier, future-oriented jobs and training positions are being secured and created throughout Germany.

The industry organizations BWO, DWV, EEHH, EE.SH, IG Metall Küste, Stiftung OFFSHORE-WINDEN-ERGIE, WAB and the AquaVentus Förderverein call for the following points to be implemented in order to make domestic, green hydrogen production at sea a reality on an industrial scale:

  1. Anchoring of concrete targets for the production of green hydrogen from offshore wind energy: The National Hydrogen Strategy must be further concretized. For the production of green hydrogen, this means setting binding expansion targets and creating a road map for offshore wind to hydrogen. In view of the Federal Constitutional Court ruling of March 24, 2021, planning beyond 2030 is necessary given the expected implementation times and the increasing demand for green hydrogen production, including the necessary infrastructure. The expansion targets for offshore hydrogen must be set in addition to the expansion target of 40 GW at sea for the power sector.
  2. Prompt designation of areas in the land development plan for at least 5 gigawatts of offshore hydrogen generation in the so-called “Duck’s Bill” at the northwest end in the German exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the North Sea. These areas cannot be used for grid-based power generation in the foreseeable future.
  3. The possibility of a hydrogen transport pipeline must be explicitly provided for in the regional planning plan for the North Sea and the prohibition in the land development plan for SEN-1 must be deleted. A hydrogen transport pipeline is capable of transferring hydrogen from up to 20 GW of European power at low cost, and at the same time the pipeline can be used as an energy storage facility. For this reason, when evaluating the efficiency of such a connection, reference should not only be made to individual areas, but an overall concept of a collection pipeline is required. In addition, in order to prepare for effective cooperation between the North Sea littoral states in the field of offshore wind energy and hydrogen production, the reserved area for the LN 1 line must be extended to the northwestern end of the EEZ.
  4. Consistent development of the tendering and award regime for hydrogen areas: The related draft regulation of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) for the first time specifies criteria for awarding “other energy production areas”. The criteria make sense. However, there is a need for improvement in the criteria for evaluating the various possible transport systems and the related areas of responsibility.
  5. Developing a licensing regime: In contrast to “traditional offshore plants”, the licensing basis for an offshore electrolyzer has not yet been clarified. Standards should be developed here as quickly as possible. A regulatory roadmap for the use of existing and new infrastructure must also be developed so that there is planning certainty regarding the framework conditions.
  6. Equipping the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) with more resources and personnel. Given the limited time left to achieve climate goals, planning, permitting, and review processes, which are prerequisites for project implementation, must move more quickly. To this end, the central steering authority for the maritime sector must be better equipped.

Stefan Thimm
Managing Director BWO


Werner Diwald
Chairman of the Board DWV


Sebastian Averdung
Chairman Support Association EEHH


Axel Wiese
Project management EE.SH


Daniel Friedrich
District Manager IG Metall Coast

Stiftung Offshore Windenergie

Karina Würtz
Managing Director Offshore Wind Energy Foundation


Heike Winkler
Managing Director WAB


Jörg Singer
Chairman of the Board AquaVentus Förderverein