Green light from Brussels for the foundation of the European hydrogen infrastructure

  • EU Commission approves funding for the European “Hy2Infra” project to establish an initial hydrogen infrastructure 
  • EWE is involved in the four-part “Clean Hydrogen Coastline” project 
  • Emden, sub-project 1: Establishment of a 320 megawatt hydrogen production facility on a power plant scale 
  • Bremen, sub-project 2: 50 megawatt hydrogen production for climate-neutral steel production 
  • Huntorf, sub-project 3: Conversion of a natural gas storage facility to hydrogen storage 
  • Weser-Ems region, sub-project 4: Construction of a hydrogen pipeline for the transportation of green hydrogen 

Oldenburg, 15. February 2024. The European Commission today announced its approval of the national funding of 33 European hydrogen projects in the Hy2Infra infrastructure wave. Among these projects is EWE’s “Clean Hydrogen Coastline”. EWE applied for funding for this major project under the European IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest) programme in February 2021 and reached the second stage of the process in May 2021. These IPCEI projects are now eligible for government support. 

With the four-part “Clean Hydrogen Coastline” project, EWE and its partners intend to establish a northern German hydrogen economy along the entire value chain – from the development of system-friendly hydrogen generation through to storage, transport and the cross-sector use of green hydrogen on an industrial scale. “I am delighted that the wait for European funding approval is over. This marks a significant step towards realising our hydrogen project. Now I hope that we will soon receive confirmation of funding from the federal government, providing a solid basis for the final investment decision by our committees,” said EWE CEO Stefan Dohler. 

An 800 m euro investment in a sustainable future 

For EWE, the development of a hydrogen economy is a crucial step towards a sustainable and environmentally friendly energy supply system. “The energy revolution can only be technically and commercially successful if hydrogen is used as an energy source. By converting fluctuating renewable energy into hydrogen, we make it possible to provide green energy on demand. Hydrogen is therefore an indispensable component for achieving our climate objectives and for linking the three sectors of energy, mobility and industry," explained Stefan Dohler. “The fact is, there will not be an 'all electric' world. It just wouldn't be affordable. That’s why we need green molecules.” 

EWE is currently planning to invest over 800 m euros in the “Clean Hydrogen Coastline” project. Stefan Dohler, CEO of EWE, emphasised, “With the EU granting approval for funding and national funding already announced, the framework is now in place for the development of a hydrogen economy in the north-west. This is an absolutely essential step towards achieving a climate-neutral energy future. Hydrogen has the potential to provide prosperity and mitigate climate change for future generations, and that is the focus of our actions.”  

Integration of green hydrogen generation, transportation, storage and use 

With the “Clean Hydrogen Coastline” project, EWE aims to integrate 370 megawatts of generation capacity, along with the corresponding storage of green hydrogen in underground salt caverns, into the energy supply system in the initial phase. The hydrogen – some of which will be generated by offshore power – will be used for a range of purposes including carbon-neutral steel production, the chemical industry and power plants. The project can also lay the groundwork for the operation of hydrogen-powered utility vehicles. Optimisation of the gas networks for the transportation of hydrogen in the north-west would make it possible to connect up networks used to transport the green gas in the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.  

Clean Hydrogen Coastline: four sub-projects at a glance 

  • In sub-project 1, “Clean Hydrogen Coastline – Electrolysis East Frisia”, EWE plans to build a 320 megawatt electrolysis plant in Emden, East Frisia. With this initiative, the energy service provider is planning to realise a project on a market-relevant scale for a future hydrogen value chain for the first time. Depending on the timing of the funding allocation and EWE’s investment decision, hydrogen from renewable energies could be produced in Emden for use in the system as soon as four years from now.
  • In sub-project 2, “Clean Hydrogen Coastline – Electrolysis Bremen”, EWE intends to build a 50-megawatt electrolysis plant for green hydrogen production in Bremen. EWE plans to use the green hydrogen produced in Emden and Bremen for climate-neutral steel production at sites like the Bremen site of ArcelorMittal, Salzgitter AG and in Georgsmarienhütte.  
  • In the third sub-project, “Clean Hydrogen Coastline – Huntorf Storage”, EWE plans to link the hydrogen infrastructure to its storage cavern in Huntorf. The goal is to convert one of seven large underground cavities currently used for natural gas storage and establish surface facilities for hydrogen storage. This will make green gas available, especially when it is most needed. Large-scale hydrogen storage will also make the supply more reliable for hydrogen users. EWE is currently conducting research to demonstrate that hydrogen can be stored safely in salt caverns at its gas storage site in Rüdersdorf near Berlin.  
  • Sub-project 4, “Clean Hydrogen Coastline – H2 pipeline infrastructure northwest” aims to optimise the gas infrastructure for hydrogen in the north-west. EWE will construct and retrofit a number of pipeline sections to establish a connection to the future pan-European hydrogen transport network. This connection would supply hydrogen from production and storage facilities to users such as ArcelorMittal through the German hydrogen core network and the ‘European Hydrogen Backbone’.  

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EWE at E-world 2024: hall 1, exhibition space 1E110 

Press contact: 
Nadine Auras 
T: 03341 382-103 
Email: nadine.auras@ewe.de  
 
EWE AG 
Tirpitzstrasse 39 
26122 Oldenburg, Germany     
 
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EWE is an innovative service provider active in the business areas of energy, telecommunications and information technology. With over 10,100 employees and sales of EUR 8.6 billion in 2022, EWE is one of the largest utility companies in Germany. The company, based in Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, is primarily owned by the local government. It provides electricity to around 1.4 million customers in northwest Germany, Brandenburg and on the island of Rügen, as well as parts of Poland, and supplies natural gas to almost 0.7 million customers. It also provides approximately 0.7 million customers with telecommunications services. EWE plays a pioneering role in the areas of climate protection and digital participation. To this end, the Group will invest over one billion euros in the expansion of the fibre-optic infrastructure in the coming years and four billion euros in the erection of new wind turbines. It is also a leader in the development of hydrogen infrastructure. More information on EWE can be found at www.ewe.com.  

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