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Prioritization and directional certainty as a task of policy Analysis and recommendations from the project “Hydrogen as a panacea?”

For three years, Germany has a dedicated political hydrogen strategy. At the same time, the ramp-up of a sustainable hydrogen economy is proceeding slowly, even though it represents an important component of decarbonisation. One reason for the slow development is a lack of political direction. Key actors do not agree on how hydrogen should be produced and where it should be used, and the German government is not taking a sufficiently clear position either. This harbours the risk that important investments could be delayed or misdirected. 

Based on an analysis of political goals and instruments (policy mix) in Germany, the policy paper develops recommendations that can strengthen the ramp-up of a sustainable hydrogen economy. These include a clear political prioritisation of those applications in which the use of hydrogen makes particular ecological and economic sense. Furthermore, resources should be focussed exclusively on the production or import of green (emission-free) hydrogen. Where technologies compete with each other, for example in heating and transport, the development of redundant infrastructures should be avoided for reasons of efficiency and costs.

The paper is based on findings from the project "Hydrogen as a panacea? – Importance and construction of directional certainty for key decisions on alternative energy sources", supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

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