AquaVentus: Imminent start of North Sea auction is essential for hydrogen ramp-up

Jörg Singer, chairman of German offshore wind-to-hydrogen initiative AquaVentus has called for a timely tender for the expansion of offshore electrolysis, saying that the imminent start of the auction for the Noth Sea region SEN-1, a 100 km2 area in the North Sea designated for hydrogen production, is a central prerequisite for the ramp-up of hydrogen market.

Illustration; Image: AquaVentus

“For the production of green hydrogen in the North Sea, we need suitable areas and a highly suitable auction design. With the tender for the SEN-1 area, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action now has a unique opportunity to ensure both and to ensure innovation and security of supply,” said Singer.

Singer urged for the tender to finally be implemented and designed in a way that enables an efficient and economically sustainable production of green hydrogen at sea.

According to AquaVentus, this requires auction criteria that ensure a high probability of realization of the projects on the SEN-1 sites and is the only way to make Germany’s contribution within a European-networked hydrogen economy.

As part of its National Hydrogen Strategy, the German government is providing an area of around 100 km2 in the North Sea on which hydrogen from offshore wind power is to be produced. This so-called SEN-1 area is to have an installed wind energy capacity of 1GW. Europe’s first offshore wind-to-hydrogen farm is planned to be built on the SEN-1 site.

AquaVentus initiative aims to produce one million tonnes of green hydrogen per year from wind energy in the North Sea and transport it to land by pipeline. The initiative gathers more than 100 companies, organizations, and research institutes along the entire value chain to create the framework conditions for the installation of 10GW of green hydrogen generation capacity from offshore wind energy in the North Sea across Europe and to build the necessary transport infrastructure.

AcquaVentus also has a number of sub-projects for the expansion of hydrogen production in the North Sea that have now become concrete. These include AquaPrimus as a demonstrator and AquaCampus, a research area that is unique in Europe, as well as the AquaDuctus hydrogen pipeline, the “hydrogen backbone” of the North Sea.

For implementation, however, it is crucial to obtain clarity about the legal framework and potential funding opportunities in a timely manner, according to Singer.