Energinet and Gasunie put backbone into H2 collaboration

4 January 2023

European Hydrogen Backbone, what it might look like, illustrating the potential hydrogen connection between Denmark and Germany.

Energinet and Gasunie have signed an MoU with the aim of accelerating preparatory work on a cross-border hydrogen infrastructure shared by Denmark and Germany.

The MoU proposes a co-ordinated approach towards network development planning based on the results of a pre-feasibility study carried out in 2021 and the latest market developments in both supply and demand. Energinet and Gasunie say they will also analyse and outline “the crucial decision ‘gates’ on the way towards reaching final investment decisions.”

“Hydrogen infrastructure enables us to fully utilise and export some of the vast renewable energy resources in Denmark and to deliver on the Esbjerg Declaration. In Energinet we already sense a strong market interest in being able to supply the German hydrogen market with green hydrogen produced in Denmark – and the ambition is to realise this before 2030. A lot must fall in place before then, so I am very happy that we are now committed to speed up the preparatory efforts and through that support European energy security”, said Søren Dupont Kristensen, CEO, Electricity System Operator, Energinet.

The Esbjerg Declaration, signed in May 2022 by Germany, Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands, envisages the North Sea as “Europe’s green power house” and establishes a joint target of at least 65 GW offshore wind by 2030, increasing to at least 150 GW by 2050.

In conjunction with the Declaration, the Danish and German governments concluded a letter of intent aiming to strengthen collaboration on green hydrogen, including the possibility of a pipeline for hydrogen export from Denmark to Germany.

“The strategic value of intensified hydrogen co-operation between Denmark and Germany lies in the well-developed, high-performance infrastructure that already connects the two neighbouring countries,” noted Gasunie Deutschland CEO Jens Schumann. “This gives us direct access to Danish green hydrogen sources – without conversion to intermediate energy carriers such as ammonia.”

The 2021 techno-economic pre-feasibility study conducted by Energinet and Gasunie Deutschland showed that Denmark could potentially supply 10-25% of future German hydrogen demand through the proposed pipeline. Since then, ambitious political agreements on Power-to-X and massive build out of renewables have been reached in the Danish parliament. Consequently, Energinet has launched a study investigating the feasibility of a “hydrogen backbone” in the western part of Denmark including infrastructure for exports to Germany.

Energinet and Gasunie have a long history of successful co-operation. Over decades, gas has been transported back and forth between Denmark and Germany, starting with exports from Germany to Denmark, followed by an extended period of exports from Denmark to Germany, and in recent years resumption of exports to Denmark.

It is expected that large parts of the ”hydrogen backbone” between the two countries could be based on converting existing natural gas transmission pipelines.

Source of map: European Hydrogen Backbone

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