Europe increases green hydrogen supply to reduce dependence on Russia

Australian renewable green energy development company, Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), and E.ON have partnered to deliver up to five million tonnes per annum of green, renewable hydrogen (GH2) to Europe by 2030. Both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to realise this ambition, with each side committing to a research and study partnership.

The aim is to lead the decarbonisation of Europe and to strengthen the security of green energy supply at a time when Europe needs to reduce its energy dependence on fossil fuels from Russia as quickly as possible. Five million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of renewable GH2 is equal to approximately one-third of the calorific energy Germany imports from Russia.

Both companies will work together, in collaboration with their governments, regarding how to achieve supply as fast as possible. Both aim to ramp up quickly to five million tonnes per annum of GH2 by 2030. This will help to decarbonise thousands of medium-sized enterprises all over Germany and the Netherlands, as well as other European cities and communities to which E.ON distributes energy.

“The announcement of this historic partnership today aims to diversify the future energy security in Europe. Green energy will reduce fossil fuel consumption dramatically in Germany and quickly help substitute the Russian energy supply while creating a massive new employment-intensive industry in Australia. This is a cohesive and urgently needed part of the green industrial revolution underway here in Europe,” said Dr. Andrew Forrest, Chairman and Founder of FFI.

German Vice-Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck said: “The race for large scale production and transportation of green hydrogen has taken off. The agreement between E.ON and FFI is a major step forward and puts them in a pole position for the delivery of green hydrogen to German industry. I congratulate the two companies and I strongly welcome their contribution to a future without fossil fuels. We will keep fostering initiatives like this one within the German-Australian Energy Partnership.”

It is intended that such large amounts of renewable GH2 will be powered by Australia’s immense renewable resources as well as FFI’s other planned global projects, and will be distributed by E.ON. The parties have also agreed to work together to analyse what solutions could look like to solve infrastructure issues and build a secure value chain.

“We cannot keep gambling our energy security and the planet’s future on fossil fuels. Green hydrogen is the practical, implementable solution to decarbonise and lower emissions,” said Julie Shuttleworth, CEO of FFI.

“We are rapidly establishing the building blocks across Australia and globally that will allow us to develop and fully integrate our world-leading green technologies, manufacturing capabilities, and green energy generation and distribution. From the beginning of FFI our philosophy was to drive performance across the entire new renewable GH2 value chain. This important announcement in Europe is not just signaling to the global marketplace that now is the time to make renewable GH2. It is also a decisive step forward in FFI’s journey to becoming one of the world’s largest green energy producers,” said Elizabeth Gaines, CEO of Fortescue Metals Group Ltd, the parent company of FFI.

“E.ON is decisively driving forward the green energy transition in Europe and is fully committed to sustainability and climate protection. Renewable GH2 is a key element to achieving this task, while at the same time contributing to a secure and affordable future energy supply. Our partnership with FFI is an important milestone on this path. Two major international companies are joining forces to build a ‘hydrogen bridge’ from Australia to Germany and the Netherlands, based on shared values and the joint capability of realising the scale of such a project. Two together make decarbonisation possible for many, which is an encouraging message, especially these days”, said Leo Birnbaum, CEO of E.ON.

“We are foreseeing a rapidly increasing demand for renewable GH2, especially in our industrial ‘Mittelstand’ client base in the regions we serve. Therefore, we look forward to unlocking the potential of this totally green, climate-friendly energy source for our customers and are pleased to work towards building a secure value chain with a strong partner like FFI. Together our ambition is to quickly diversify the energy system in Germany and the Netherlands”, said Patrick Lammers, COO of E.ON.

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