Volker Quaschning Wrong

That is a “man bites dog” headline. Stop the presses, I found a point where I disagree with his opinions. Does not happen often.

Quaschning recently blasted the new German hydrogen strategy, saying it is only done in order to misdirect people away from the government’s renewable energy policy failures, that hydrogen is extremely expensive and has no chance to reach the climate goals.

I think that is a bit too harsh. Like Jakob Schlandt here.

This is a new policy that will invest 9 billion Euros. That is much closer to the kind of money people should throw at the climate emergency. Of course orders of magnitude too small amounts, but it is a good start.

I agree that the renewable energy policy in Germany in recent years was a disaster. But these 9 billion certainly will not be invested in glossy PR brochures. They will start moving things. And I for one root for their success.

I am reminded of nuclear fans 10 years ago objecting to renewable energy with insightful comments like “the sun does not shine at night”, being mainly motivated by the fact that renewable energy is in competition with nuclear. This feels like Quaschning does not like hydrogen because he thinks it detracts from the renewable energy policy he favors.

And it is true that green hydrogen is expensive now. But so was solar in 2000. Wait a couple of years and see what those 9 billion in initial investment can do.

I think hydrogen will be needed a lot in a renewable energy future. Mainly for the time slots and areas where demand of the grid is not enough to use all of the supply. If your grid does not exist yet or the power line capacity is not enough to transport all the renewable energy, it will be very useful to be able to store the energy. And it does not matter much how high the cost is, because the alternative is always to just throw away the electricity.

I also disagree with the idea that hydrogen will not help solving the climate emergency. It won’t be able to do so alone, of course. All green hydrogen will always need renewable capacity built.

But it may very well be an important piece of the puzzle.

If this hydrogen strategy is as successful as the 2000 Law on Priority for Renewable Energy, Germany will have scored the second decisive goal in this match against the climate emergency.

I for one hope that happens as one part of the European Green Deal.

Published by kflenz

Professor at Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo. Author of Lenz Blog (since 2003, lenzblog.com).

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