German-Norwegian Energy Dialogue 2023 – These are the core topics

The German-Norwegian Energy Dialogue serves as a platform for meaningful discussions regarding the most important developments in the German-Norwegian energy partnership. Collaborating closely with the embassies of both nations, we convene representatives from industry, politics, and organizations from both countries. This year, we are exploring how the industrial sector can contribute to achieving political goals and what regulatory framework is necessary for successful outcomes. Set to take place on August 29th in Oslo, the German-Norwegian Energy Dialogue 2023 promises valuable insights. Here’s a glimpse of what the program entails. 

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the remaining carbon allowance to adhere to the 1.5°C limit will be depleted within nine years if the actual emission levels persist. To achieve the objective of global climate neutrality by 2050, man-generated CO2 emissions must annually decrease by an average of 1.4 billion tonnes. 

Researchers agree that achieving this target necessitates a two-pronged approach: Firstly, there must be a substantial acceleration in investments in renewable energy sources and resilient energy grids. A particular emphasis lies in advancing hydrogen and CO2 capture and storage (CCS) technologies. Secondly, the energy crisis ensuing from the Russian war of aggression underscores the fragility of the present supply security. Consequently, supplementary measures are indispensable to ensure a secure supply chain during the transition to net-zero emissions. Both sides require assertive policy interventions. 

Subsequently, Norway and Germany have inked several agreements to fortify their energy sector collaboration. Ulf Heitmüller, Chairman of the Executive Board at VNG AG, considers this collaboration as an optimal foundation for the impending stages:

The longstanding energy sector partnership between Norway and Germany lays a robust groundwork for shaping the European energy system transformation towards decarbonization.

Ulf Heitmüller, Chairman of the Executive Board , VNG AG

He adds: „The burgeoning value chains encompassing hydrogen, ammonia, and CO2 present an exclusive opening to deepen, broaden, and positively perpetuate our enduring energy alliance into the future.“ 

Nevertheless, it’s pivotal that these agreements are followed by actions. 

Part 1: Safeguarding Energy Security on the Way to Net Zero 

In this part of the German-Norwegian Energy Dialogue, participants such as Andreas Bjelland-Eriksen, State Secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy; Christian Maaß, Ministerial Director at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection; and Dr. Philipp Steinberg, Ministerial Director at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, will engage in a political and industrial dialogue alongside industry representatives. This interaction will delve into ensuring energy security while striving for net-zero emissions. 

Knut Nyborg, Managing Director at Aker Horizons Asset Development and a panelist, puts forth specific expectations for policymakers:

We anticipate a decision on supporting the development of requisite infrastructure to facilitate large-scale supply of hydrogen and ammonia from Norway to Germany!

Knut Nyborg, Managing Director, Aker Horizons Asset Development

He specifies: „This encompasses an expansive pipeline and infrastructure at ports and adjacent industrial zones. The latter aspect holds significance as ports and coastal industrial areas are projected to meet 42% of the EU’s annual hydrogen demand. Given the substantial development and infrastructure costs, the industry can’t solely bear them during the initial phase; a collaborative approach is needed.“ 

The second part of the German-Norwegian Energy Dialogue will dissect the practical aspects of establishing a hydrogen and CO2 infrastructure. 

Part 2: Establishing Hydrogen and CO2 Infrastructure 

Up to this point, the CCS debate in Germany has been riddled with skepticism and opposition. The storage of CO2 within Germany or its export for overseas storage currently encounters legal barriers. However, a change has been initiated with the appointment of the Green Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Dr. Robert Habeck. The federal government is slated to present a carbon management strategy within 2023. This strategy will highlight essential avenues for CCU and CCS technologies and the feasibility of storing CO2, particularly beneath the seabed. The state of NRW has already laid out such a strategy.  

A comprehensive European hydrogen infrastructure is absent, and its sluggish development hampers the overall project. International collaboration emerges as a crucial factor in promoting both blue and, eventually, green hydrogen. A synchronized approach can stimulate investments in facilities and infrastructure, thereby reducing costs and facilitating the exchange of knowledge and best practices. Additionally, standardized international norms would enhance hydrogen trade. Per Christian Eriksen, Head of Hydro Havrand, agrees:

Closer collaboration between Germany and Norway can lift both export projects and green hydrogen projects in Germany. By connecting Norwegian producers with German off-takers, and by generating favorable framework conditions, the two countries can enable both.

Per Christian Eriksen, Head of Hydro Havrand

For the export projects, infrastructure to transport hydrogen in Germany is key to enable projects, and the European backbone needs to be co-developed with the pipeline from Norway. Establishing landfall in Germany for a pipeline, connecting Norwegian producers to German off-takers, and ensuring support schemes that lift the initial projects are also key drivers for realizing hydrogen export projects. 

During expert discussions, governmental representatives and Wintershall Dea will delve into ongoing debates, existing strategies, and forthcoming steps. This will be succeeded by an industry panel featuring Equinor, Hydro Havrand, EnBW, and others, focusing on establishing a hydrogen and CO2 infrastructure. 

Part 3: What Next for Renewables and the Power Market  

Finally, in the third panel, participants from RWE, Statkraft, DNV, and others will illuminate the trajectory of developments and ongoing projects in the realm of renewable energies. 

Pål Coldevin, EVP Offshore Development Nordics, Poland and Baltics, RWE Renewables, sees an opportunity here to take a leadership role through synergies in cooperation:

Our countries can join efforts using Norwegian resources and infrastructure together with German industry and technological know-how, to take a leadership role in Europe’s path towards decarbonization of industries and European autonomy.

Pål Coldevin, EVP Offshore Development Nordics, Poland and Baltics, RWE Renewables

He continues: „An example of this kind of bilateral cooperation is the strategic energy partnership between RWE and Equinor, which will contribute to the long-term security of supply of a decarb|onized European power sector as well as to the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy in the region.“