German cabinet approves bill to accelerate hydrogen power expansion

Germany's cabinet approved a bill to fast-track the construction of hydrogen infrastructure, import and production facilities as Berlin bets on the fuel to help decarbonize Europe's biggest economy. The Hydrogen Acceleration Law will give infrastructure an "overriding public interest" status, meaning authorities will prioritize it in the approval process.
Permitting procedures will be simplified and digitized and legal cases challenging hydrogen projects and environmental impact assessments will be shortened, according to the planned law, in the hope of a quick expansion of the fuel.
Germany wants to expand reliance on hydrogen as a future energy source to cut greenhouse gas emissions for highly polluting industrial sectors that cannot be electrified such as steel and chemicals and cut dependency on imported fossil fuel.
The acceleration will primarily benefit electrolyzers, the devices that use energy to separate hydrogen from water, provided they can prove that they will use at least 80% renewable energy in the period up to the end of 2029.
Last month, Germany's ruling coalition agreed to a financing mechanism for the country's future hydrogen network and offering protection for investors in case of bankruptcies. 
In March, the government said it would earmark up to 3.53 B euros ($3.84 B) of public funds to procure green hydrogen and its derivatives between 2027 and 2036. The bill does not include faster construction of new natural gas power plants that will be converted to hydrogen in the future, a key demand of the energy industry.

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