Blasen im klaren Wasser

© Getty Images/Mutlu Kurtbas

The Ordinance on Auctioning Sites for Alternative Energy Generation in the Exclusive Economic Zone (Verordnung zur Vergabe von sonstigen Energiegewinnungsbereichen in der ausschließlichen Wirtschaftszone, SoEnergieV) will be published in the Federal Gazette today and enter into force on 1 October 2021. It creates the basis for the practical testing of the use of offshore electricity for hydrogen production. Until now, electrolysis-based hydrogen production has taken place only onshore. From now, business and industry have the possibility to use and test offshore electrolysis.

Federal Minister Altmaier said: "Offshore production of green hydrogen is a forward-looking issue with great potential for innovation. Offshore hydrogen production can make a considerable contribution to the decarbonisation of industry in Germany."

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has adopted an Ordinance on auctioning sites in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) so that sites in the North Sea can be used for offshore hydrogen production. The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) is in charge of the auctions. The Ordinance stipulates the criteria for the auctions.

Sites in the Exclusive Economic Zone will for the first time be awarded on the basis of qualitative criteria. The first round of auctions is to take place as early as 2022. The Ordinance is technology-neutral. In view of the fact that offshore wind technologies are well advanced and allow for efficient use of the maritime space, it makes sense to use wind energy for the production of offshore electrolysis-based hydrogen.

As a first step, successful bidders will be entitled to apply for a planning approval procedure for the respective site. As a second step, they can apply for funding. For this purpose, the German Federal Government has earmarked €50 million from 2022 in the context of the energy and climate package.

The Ordinance is also part of the Economic Affairs Ministry’s contribution to implementing the National Hydrogen Strategy and reaching the Strategy’s objective to improve the conditions and make more use of offshore wind energy for hydrogen production.