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Current Legislative Framework for Green Hydrogen Production by Electrolysis Plants in Germany


(1) The German energy system transformation towards an entirely renewable supply is expected to incorporate the extensive use of green hydrogen. This carbon-free fuel allows the decarbonization of end-use sectors such as industrial high-temperature processes or heavy-duty transport that remain challenging to be covered by green electricity only. However, it remains unclear whether the current legislative framework supports green hydrogen production or is an obstacle to its rollout. (2) This work analyzes the relevant laws and ordinances regarding their implications on potential hydrogen production plant operators. (3) Due to unbundling-related constraints, potential operators from the group of electricity transport system and distribution system operators face lacking permission to operate production plants. Moreover, ownership remains forbidden for them. The same applies to natural gas transport system operators. The case is less clear for natural gas distribution system operators, where explicit regulation is missing. (4) It is finally analyzed if the production of green hydrogen is currently supported in competition with fossil hydrogen production, not only by the legal framework but also by the National Hydrogen Strategy and the Amendment of the Renewable Energies Act. It can be concluded that in recent amendments of German energy legislation, regulatory support for green hydrogen in Germany was found. The latest legislation has clarified crucial points concerning the ownership and operation of electrolyzers and the treatment of green hydrogen as a renewable energy carrier.

Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Germany

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