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German gas coalition calls for more support amid coal exit, hydrogen plans


Industry alliance includes Wintershall, Uniper, Shell

More support needed for gas plants in switch from coal

Advocates technology-neutral approach for hydrogen

London — A German gas industry alliance has published a position paper calling for more support for natural gas, underlining its potential contribution to the economic recovery without compromising climate targets.

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The informal alliance of 15 companies includes Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, Equinor, Uniper, Thuega, VNG, Wintershall Dea as well as gas grid operators.

"Natural gas can make a vital contribution to economic recovery in Germany and Europe – without compromising climate protection targets," Wintershall Dea board member Thilo Wieland said June 29.

The switch from coal to gas in the power sector had reduced CO2 emissions by six million metric tonnes in 2019 with the trend accelerating this year.

Legislators needed to improve investment conditions for gas plant for the fuel to unleash its full potential, the report, published by Wintershall Dea, said.

German utility lobby BDEW earlier this month called for an increased target for combined heat and power generation, with the country's coal exit law focused on closure compensation for municipally-owned hard coal-fired CHP units or a switch to gas.

The gas coalition report meanwhile welcomed Germany's national hydrogen strategy published June 10 as an important step in the right direction.

Wintershall Dea called for a technology-neutral approach promoting the use of decarbonised hydrogen from natural gas (blue hydrogen) alongside renewable hydrogen (green hydrogen).

"Thanks to its significant price and volume advantages, [blue hydrogen] can make up for shortfalls in renewables capacities and accelerate the much-needed development and growth of the hydrogen market," it said.

The government's strategy is focused on a proposed Eur7 billion of support for 5 GW of electrolysis capacity for green hydrogen production.