Gasunie to manage future hydrogen network in North Sea

Energy infrastructure company Gasunie is the intended network operator for the future hydrogen network in the North Sea, Dutch Minister for Climate and Energy Policy Rob Jetten has announced in a letter to the House of Representatives.

Courtesy of Gasunie

In this letter on the North Sea Energy Infrastructure Plan 2050, Jetten stressed the importance of designating an intended operator to safeguard public interests, Gasunie said, adding that the designation also reassures the market that infrastructure will be available.

According to Gasunie, with the further growth of offshore wind from 2030, onshore as well as offshore hydrogen production becomes essential.

The company claimed: “From 2030 onwards, it will become increasingly challenging to transmit all the wind power generated offshore to land in the form of electricity. That is where hydrogen comes in as a great alternative, given the transmission capacity offered by gas pipelines and the fact that hydrogen is relatively easy to store.”

“This is important if we want to have sufficient energy available, also when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining. Besides the benefits for the energy system, offshore hydrogen also means that fewer cables and electrolysers will be needed on land. On top of that, hydrogen transmission is very (cost-)efficient, meaning that it will bring down the total energy infrastructure costs. An added benefit is that these pipelines in the North Sea can also be used to import hydrogen from other North Sea countries.”

Gasunie CEO Willemien Terpstra commented: “We are pleased that the government has placed its trust in Gasunie and intends to assign Gasunie this vital role of offshore hydrogen network operator. We are ready, just like we are doing onshore with the national hydrogen network, to get to work to build a network in the North Sea, that will not only have good connections to our national network but also to our neighbouring countries. Needless to say, we will be looking into whether and, if so, how we can reuse the existing North Sea gas infrastructure.”

To remind, Gasunie started work on the construction of the Dutch national hydrogen network in 2023, primarily by repurposing existing natural gas pipelines. From 2030, the network is expected to connect the Netherlands’ major industrial areas to each other and to Germany and Belgium.

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