German cabinet approves legal framework for hydrogen core network

(Reuters) - The German cabinet on Wednesday passed a draft law to create a framework for a hydrogen core network scheduled to go into operation by 2032, as Berlin aims to move away from fossil fuels and become climate-neutral by 2045.

Germany is seeking to expand reliance on hydrogen as a future energy source both to make its economy more green and to reduce reliance on Russian gas imports, which dropped last year in the wake of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

The core network draft law includes the legal basis for plans to connect central hydrogen networks across Germany, to be modelled by long-distance gas network operators in the coming months, the economy ministry said in a statement.

A broad consultation of the public, the federal states and various market stakeholders would take place afterwards, it said.

A comprehensive hydrogen network development plan, which would be based on existing network development processes and energy-intensive companies' needs, would be ready by the end of the year.

Germany's gas distribution network with its currently around 1.8 million industrial and commercial consumers must also be integrated into the future hydrogen economy, utility industry association BDEW said on Wednesday.

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