We need all colours of hydrogen, says German finance minister
By Christian Kraemer and Maria Martinez
BERLIN (Reuters) - We need all colours of hydrogen, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner told Reuters in an interview, referring to a dispute in Brussels around hydrogen produced from nuclear or renewable energy.
As European Union countries debate the potential role of hydrogen in decarbonising the economy and reducing dependence on imported fossil fuel, they are struggling to agree over how hydrogen should be produced.
A debate over whether to focus on hydrogen made using renewable power, such as wind and solar, or to allow low-carbon hydrogen made with nuclear energy has delayed negotiations on new EU renewable energy targets and threatened a multibillion-euro hydrogen pipeline.
"Blue hydrogen, which is produced from natural gas, and red hydrogen, which is produced from nuclear energy, can make a very important contribution towards establishing the hydrogen economy in a transition phase," Lindner said.
He said hydrogen from renewable energy is preferable in the long term, but in the nearer term the EU needs to build a market structure with a reliable supply at affordable prices.
"For me, it is therefore hard to imagine that Germany would position itself against this in Europe," Lindner said.
The issue is divisive not only across Europe, but within Germany where opposition is still high to nuclear energy even though some politicians have said it is necessary to extend its use now the country can no longer rely on the Russian pipeline gas that powered the economy for decades.
In the EU negotiations, France, which relies heavily on nuclear generation, is leading the campaign to promote nuclear energy's contribution to cutting CO2 emissions.
Germany and Spain have said this risks detracting from efforts to massively expand renewable energy.
(Reporting by Christian Kraemer and Maria Martinez, Editing by Rachel More and Barbara Lewis)