Equinor, RWE Unveil Joint Offshore Wind-to-Hydrogen Plan for Norway and Germany
Equinor and RWE have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on developing large scale projects that will contribute to the European energy supply and to the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy in Germany, Norway and the EU. Among the key areas the two partners agreed upon is also joint development of offshore wind farms for the production of renewable hydrogen.
The MoU was inked on 5 January, following two declarations signed between the governments of Norway and Germany, under which the two countries will cooperate on increasing production of renewable energy and develop green industry, including hydrogen, battery technology, offshore wind, and carbon capture and storage (CCS).
The new Equinor-RWE partnership plans a series of investments that are contingent on the construction of a hydrogen pipeline between Norway and Germany and a German hydrogen downstream infrastructure.
The pipeline, which would first be used for the distribution of blue hydrogen and later for green hydrogen, is currently being assessed by Gassco, Equinor and third parties.
If the pipeline is built, Equinor would transport the blue hydrogen produced in Norway, which RWE would purchase and use in hydrogen-ready gas plants in Germany. In Germany, the two companies plan to jointly build and own new gas power plants (CCGTs) which would initially be fueled with natural gas and then gradually use hydrogen as fuel with the ambition for the CCGTs to later fully run on hydrogen.
“The collaboration has the potential to develop Norway into a key supplier of hydrogen to Germany and Europe. This is a unique opportunity to build a hydrogen industry in Norway where hydrogen also can be used as feedstock to domestic industries”, said Anders Opedal, Equinor’s CEO and President.
Furthermore, Equinor and RWE said they also planned joint development of offshore wind farms that would enable production of renewable hydrogen as fuel for power and other industrial customers in the future.
As part of this plan, the partners will jointly explore possibilities for offshore production of renewable hydrogen in Norway, Germany and countries adjacent to the proposed hydrogen pipeline.
The two companies are already involved in developing AquaSector, a project in the North Sea aimed at creating a 300 MW offshore wind farm connected to offshore electrolysers that produce green hydrogen.
In addition, RWE and Equinor will continue to explore joint investments in offshore-wind-only projects in Norway and Germany as well as green hydrogen production in Norway, RWE said in its press release.
“In order to make progress in the conversion from fossil fuels to hydrogen, there is an urgent need for a rapid ramp up of the hydrogen economy. Blue hydrogen in large quantities can be the start, with subsequent conversion into green hydrogen supply. This is exactly what we are driving forward with our partnership – providing the industries with significant quantities of hydrogen”, said Markus Krebber, CEO of RWE.
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