Equinor and RWE have decided to collaborate on creating offshore wind farms capable of producing green hydrogen in order to establish value chains for low-carbon hydrogen. In order to replace coal-fired power plants in Germany with gas-fired power plants that are still prepared to use hydrogen, the partners intend to build a low-carbon, renewable hydrogen production facility in Norway. This facility will export hydrogen to Germany via a pipeline. The memorandum of understanding calls for the development of new combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power stations and participation in Germany’s coal phase-out programme. Equinor and RWE will jointly control the CCGTs, which will be first powered by natural gas before gradually switching to hydrogen as a fuel to run totally on hydrogen when the volumes and technology are available. 

The partners will construct facilities in Norway to convert natural gas into low-carbon hydrogen utilising carbon capture and storage. Off the coast of Norway, the seabed will permanently absorb and store more than 95 per cent of the carbon dioxide. The joint development of offshore wind farms will enable the future generation of renewable hydrogen as a fuel for power and other industrial applications, according to a statement from Equinor. Reportedly,  Germany intends to reduce its carbon emissions by 65 per cent  between 1990 and 2030 in order to become climate neutral by 2045. Similar objectives have been established by Norway, including the development of floating offshore wind farms, carbon capture and storage infrastructure, and electric oil and gas infrastructure.

In December 2022, Equinor made a final investment decision on the 531 MW Mendubim solar project in Brazil. Mendubim, a joint venture project between Scatec, Hydro Rein, and Equinor, is situated in Rio Grande do Norte. The project would generate about 1.2 TWh of energy annually, which is enough to power 620,000 Brazilian houses. The project would receive engineering, procurement, and construction services from the three partners, each holding a 33.3 per cent share in it.

REGlobal’s Views: RWE has taken a series of steps in the recent months to expand its offshore wind and green hydrogen capabilities. Similarly, Equinor has also been making efforts to ramp up its renewable energy capacity. A collaboration between these large energy companies would entail development of large offshore wind and green hydrogen assets in Norway for transport of low-carbon hydrogen to Germany.