How can Northern Germany and Denmark work together to build a green hydrogen economy? How could Danish hydrogen come to Germany? These questions were on the agenda for the hydrogen delegation from Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, led by Hamburg’s Senator for Economic Affairs Michael Westhagemann, during their visit to Copenhagen.
Together with the Schleswig-Holstein State Secretary Tobias Goldschmidt, representatives of Hamburg’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Innovation, companies such as Vattenfall, Hamburg Port Authority (HPA), Hamburg Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA), Shell, the shipping company F. Laeisz, Hamburg Airport and representatives from Hamburg Invest and the Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster Agency, Senator Michael Westhagemann attended the Hamburg Copenhagen Business Forum and an exclusive round table with Danish companies. The topic of hydrogen was very high on the agenda.
Hamburg Copenhagen Business Forum
The Hamburg Copenhagen Busies Forum, organised by Danish industrial association Dansk Industri, the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce and the German-Danish Chamber of Commerce, was the prelude to the visit. In the plenary and individual workshops, the forum focused on the topic “Germany and Denmark – Joining Forces for Green Growth”. The first incentive for the more than 200 participants, around 40 of whom were from Hamburg, came from the Danish Transport Minister Benny Engelbrecht and the Hamburg Ambassador in Denmark and CEO of Rambøll Jens-Peter Saul, who both want to initiate and implement projects for a sustainable and green future.
In the following discussion round, Lykke Friis, former Danish Climate and Energy Minister and deserving promoter of German-Danish relations, began by calling on German and Danish stakeholders to commit to joint projects for greater sustainability. Senator Michael Westhagemann made it clear during the discussion round that he would like to see a coordinated strategy to build a Northern European hydrogen economy as he sees great potential here. Martin Neubert, CCO of the Danish energy group and global market leader for offshore wind farms Ørsted, took a similar stance. He sees a great opportunity for cooperation in the possible business of importing hydrogen from Denmark to Germany.
But hydrogen is not the only topic that is of mutual significance to Denmark and Northern Germany. Sebastian Averdung, Managing Director of Averdung Ingenieure & Berater and also Chairman of the EEHH development association, is convinced that the Danish developments in the field of renewable heat supply and solar thermal energy could also serve as a positive example for Hamburg. Mimi Sewalski, Managing Director of Avocado Store, pointed out that sustainable solutions of any kind depend on the right storytelling – meaning green hydrogen could also be successful with the right story.
Round Table „Hydrogen – Shaping the Future“
In the afternoon, the North German delegation led by Senator Michael Westhagemann took part in an exclusive round table discussion on the topic “Hydrogen – Shaping the Future”, to which Hamburg Ambassador Jens-Peter Saul had invited the “who’s who” of the Danish energy industry. Dan Jørgensen, acting Danish Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities, emphasised in his speech that he considers cooperation with Hamburg and Northern Germany to be of great importance. During the remainder of the round table, both sides had ample opportunity to present current projects, such as the planned Danish energy islands in the North and Baltic Seas or the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI), and to establish points of contact. Renewable Energy Hamburg Cluster Managing Director Jan Rispens also presented the Hamburg Hydrogen Network’s projects and the North German Living Lab, which is just starting up.
The participants on the Danish side came from Ørsted, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, Haldor Topsøe, Siemens Energy, MAN Energy Solutions, COWI, Energinet, Danfoss, HOFOR, Total Energies, Port of Esbjerg, City of Esbjerg, Nature Energy, Dansk Industri, the German-Danish Chamber of Commerce and Rambøll. In particular, the construction of hydrogen infrastructure, such as pipelines linking Denmark, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg, emerged as an important topic for future cooperation. The most recently published feasibility study by Gasunie and Energinet as well as an expert report by the state of Schleswig-Holstein on hydrogen production and markets (German Only) provide some initial starting points for an intensive discussion here.