The new German government has indicated its plans to make Germany climate neutral by 2045 by phasing out coal, making solar power compulsory on new commercial buildings, and by requiring states to provide 2% of their area for wind power.  The three-party coalition, which has been referred to as a traffic light government on the basis of the colours associated with its three members, also has a focus on hydrogen-based energy and a desire for 80% of electricity to be renewable.

Coal remains a very important source of electrical power despite the amount of electricity generated from coal falling from over 43% in 2010 to 24% in 2020.  This is at the same time as Germany is intending to shut down its remaining nuclear plants by 2022, which generated almost a third of Germany's electricity in 2000 and still generates around 11% of its electricity.  The intention to phase out coal by 2030 and nuclear by 2022 is certainly ambitious as Germany will need to find a way to replace the 34% of electricity generated via coal and nuclear in less than a decade.  This is made even more difficult by the intention to have 15 million electric cars on the roads in Germany by 2030, which will switch the equivalent energy demand from petrol and diesel to electrical energy demand.

As part of the shift to a greener economy, Germany has already committed to investing around €8 billion in large-scale hydrogen projects, which outweighs the commitment of the UK government by some way.  With the new German government continuing its focus on hydrogen, it seems that German companies and companies operating in German will have considerably more government support than their UK counterparts.

It would be good to see the UK ramp up its support for the energy transition, not just in hydrogen but also with regards to all types of energy generation and storage, as a whole suite of technologies will be needed to pivot to a climate neutral economy in the coming years.  Other technologies such as wind, solar, sustainable aviation fuel, nuclear, and CCUS are also key aspects of the energy transition and countries should bear in mind that no single solution will be enough by itself.

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