Germany and Norway are planning a hydrogen pipeline

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London
CNN

Germany just took a step closer to it find a long-term, greener outlet for Russian natural gas and coal.

German power producer RWE ( RWEOY ) and Norwegian state energy company Equinor announced plans on Thursday to build hydrogen-fueled power plants in Germany over the next few years, as well as a major pipeline between the two countries. feed them.

The agreement – which is not yet legally binding – is part of Germany’s efforts to phase out all coal-fired power stations by 2030 and decarbonise its energy sector. Berlin has shifted significantly away from Russia as an energy source since its invasion of Ukraine, and needs to find other secure suppliers.

“Through this cooperation we will strengthen long-term energy security for Europe’s leading industrial country,” said Anders Opedal, CEO and president of Equinor, in a joint statement.

The power plants, which are jointly owned by RWE and Equinor, will initially run on natural gas produced in Norway before switching to “blue” hydrogen, which has been will also be produced in Norway using natural gas and pumped through the underwater pipeline, the companies said.

More than 95% of the carbon dioxide emitted during the production of hydrogen will be captured and stored under the seabed, they said. Equinor plans to develop 2 gigawatt production capacity for “blue” hydrogen by 2030.

The ultimate goal is to generate so-called “green” hydrogen using renewable energy from offshore wind farms, they said, without giving dates.

The European Union has a target of building 40 gigawatts of renewable hydrogen production capacity by 2030.

“A rapid increase in the hydrogen economy is urgently needed,” Markus Krebber, RWE’s chief executive, said in a statement. “Blue hydrogen in large quantities can start, with subsequent conversion to green hydrogen supply.”

The companies did not say how many power plants they plan to build, or the value of their joint investments.

Norway is now the largest supplier of natural gas in Europe, according to Official EU statistics. Ever since Russia began cutting exports to the bloc in retaliation for European sanctions over the war in Ukraine, the Scandinavian country has ramped up its own exports to help fill the gap.

“In the midst of the energy crisis, we see how important Norway is as a reliable supplier of gas to Europe, but we also see how vital it is that we move faster to more renewable energy.” Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told reporters in Oslo on Thursday, according to a Reuters report.

Just before Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, Germany suspended plans to use the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, built by Gazprom to deliver up to 55 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year – or more than half of Germany’s annual consumption.

In the months that followed, Russia drastically cut natural gas flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Flows on that pipeline stopped completely in August when it shut down for repairs. It did not open again.

Both pipelines were hit a month later by a series of explosions. Denmark and Sweden have said the infrastructure was deliberately targeted, and Sweden’s security service has said it cannot be ruled out that “a foreign power is behind it.” ”

Suspicion has fallen on Russia as the only actor in the region believed to have the ability and motivation to deliberately damage the pipelines. The Kremlin has denied that it hit the pipelines.

After the blast, NATO pledged to mount a “combined and determined response” if the damage was proven to be deliberate.

– Charles Riley and Julia Horowitz reported.

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