Olaf Lies, Lower Saxony’s Minister for the Environment, gives an interview with Renewable Energy Hamburg
In his digital interview with Jan Rispens, Managing Director of EEHH, Olaf Lies calls for courage and reliability in the fields of offshore wind expansion and establishing a North German hydrogen industry.
Establishing a domestic hydrogen industry in North Germany
‘The new national hydrogen strategy only gets my qualified approval. First, developing it has taken far too long. Second, it’s written with a lot of caution and too little courage,’ Olaf Lies explains. ‘In the end, what we need in North Germany is a market with clear market incentives, even if this is initially associated with high costs.’ He also pleads for swift regulatory change so that, rather than just a few flagship projects, there would be many projects, which would also pay off in future.
‘North Germany is the energy region of the future. This gateway to the world can both import and export energy. We must use the environmental protection issue as an incentive for post-corona reconstruction,’ Olaf Lies demands emphatically. A qualified engineer, he underscores the importance of a domestic hydrogen industry. Among the measures envisaged by the Federal Government’s current corona stimulus package are a ‘national hydrogen strategy’ and the creation of hydrogen production facilities with a capacity totalling five gigawatts by 2030. Other initiatives to be promoted include, for example, the use of green hydrogen in aircraft engines.
Long-term perspective for offshore wind energy
‘Of course, I’m glad that the “Wind Energy-on-Sea law” is going to be amended. But, in my view, it’s taken far too long. And, as far as I’m concerned, a mere 20 gigawatts is hardly cause for rejoicing. It is time we had a long-term perspective so we can build two gigawatts new capacity per year. Furthermore, it will soon be time to think about repowering old plants,’ comments Olaf Lies. As well as this, he pleads for tendering mechanisms to be decoupled from the law and trust placed instead in ‘contracts for differences’, which are already common practice in the English-speaking world. Just like a new hydrogen industry, thinks Lies, the offshore wind industry also needs a domestic market.