Equinor ASA and RWE AG have formed a strategic energy partnership that includes blue and green hydrogen production and transportation. The investments are contingent on construction of a hydrogen pipeline between Norway and Germany and a German hydrogen downstream infrastructure.
In anticipation of this infrastructure, Equinor and RWE have proposed a series of investments to develop dedicated offshore hydrogen projects along the pipeline and gradually ramp up the renewable (green) hydrogen portion of German imports. This includes 3 Gw of hydrogen-ready combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power generation capacity in Germany.
The companies are targeting increased European hydrogen supply and its use in the power sector starting in 2030. Equinor intends to invest in an initial 2 Gw of low-carbon (blue) hydrogen capacity in Norway by 2030 and up to 10 Gw by 2038. The hydrogen would be fed into a pipeline to Germany being assessed by Gassco AS, Equinor, and third parties. Provided this pipeline is in place, Equinor will transport the blue hydrogen, which RWE will purchase and use in hydrogen-ready gas plants.
RWE and Equinor also will collaborate in green hydrogen projects using offshore wind energy combined with electrolyzers to produce offshore renewable hydrogen in Norway, Germany, and other countries adjacent to the proposed hydrogen pipeline. Both companies are already involved in developing AquaSector, a project in the North Sea to develop a 300-Mw offshore wind farm connected to offshore electrolyzers to produce green hydrogen.
In accordance with specifications from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, the 3 Gw of planned CCGT plants shall use 50 vol % hydrogen combustion at the time of commissioning and will pursue 100% hydrogen combustion by the mid-2030s. Equinor plans to supply the natural gas required for the operation of the joint CCGT plants.
To meet the German requirements, however, this natural gas will gradually be replaced by low-carbon hydrogen. As offshore hydrogen production comes online over time, green hydrogen from the joint projects will gradually complement and ultimately replace its blue counterpart, according to the companies.
RWE and Equinor also will continue to explore joint investments in offshore-wind-only projects in Norway and Germany as well as green hydrogen production in Norway. RWE and Neptune Energy last year agreed to jointly develop H2opZee—and offshore green hydrogen project—ahead of 2030 (OGJ Online, Feb. 15, 2022).