The German offshore network will be connected to the Dutch offshore network, providing cross-border options to import and eventually even export hydrogen through the Dutch offshore network. To develop the offshore hydrogen network, the company has now applied to the European Commission for Project of Common Interest (PCI) status.
Gasunie’s application is part of the international Clean Hydrogen for Europe partnership working together to realise the entire hydrogen chain, from production, transport and storage to connecting end users in north-western Europe. In addition to Gasunie, companies from Germany, Belgium, France and Norway have contributed their PCI projects to the partnership. The aim is to commission the hydrogen network in the German North Sea from 2030. The connection to the Netherlands will follow in subsequent years.
In the German government’s hydrogen strategy, besides a hydrogen network throughout Germany and large-scale storage facilities, the North Sea plays a crucial role in making German society more sustainable and contributing to greater European energy independence. Moreover, Germany sees itself as a key region in the realisation of the European hydrogen market. From 2030, the amount of hydrogen produced by offshore wind farms and the amount of hydrogen imported from neighbouring countries will increase rapidly. A hydrogen transport network at sea is needed to transport it to land. It was recently announced that the first German wind farm with an electrolysis capacity of about 1 GW (known as SEN-1) will be tendered in 2023.
In 2022, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Belgium signed the Esbjerg Declaration, in which they agreed to develop the North Sea as a ‘green power plant’. Besides the electrical energy that will be massively transported to land, a significant part of wind energy will already be converted into hydrogen at sea, which will be brought ashore from the North Sea via international hydrogen connections. Network operators and governments from different countries are working together as much as possible to realise the green power plant.
Gasunie has a connecting role to help accelerate the energy transition with the development of a hydrogen market in the Netherlands, Germany and the North Sea. This is already visible in the Netherlands and northern Germany where hydrogen infrastructure (large-scale transport and storage) is being built on land. In the North Sea, Gasunie will play a similar connecting role to connect the various hydrogen networks emerging in the different North Sea countries. The Dutch cabinet’s intention to appoint Gasunie to develop a hydrogen network in the Dutch part of the North Sea contributes to the development of this international connecting role. The cooperation with partners in the Clean Hydrogen for Europe project is a first concrete initiative to achieve an international hydrogen network in the North Sea.