The municipal Hamburger Energiewerke (HenW) are taking over the Moorburg combined heat and power plant, which was shut down in 2021, from Vattenfall. One of the centers of the energy transition in northern Germany is to be created there, primarily through the electrolysis of hydrogen using wind energy from the coastal region. The purchase price was not mentioned. 94 men and women at the power plant now work for the municipal utility company. "Because of its location and connection to lines and transport routes, Moorburg is an ideal location for the development of a hydrogen economy," said Environment and Energy Senator Jens Kerstan (Greens). In addition to the location in the port, a major advantage is the connection to the high-voltage grid.
Vattenfall shut down the power plant – one of the most modern coal-fired power plants in the world – after only six years of operation after long arguments with environmental organizations and citizens' groups. Since then, Vattenfall has been preparing for the demolition, which the Hamburger Energiewerke now want to implement. The construction of an electrolysis plant with an output of 100 megawatts is already planned, which should go into operation in the middle of the decade, it would then be the world's largest plant of its kind.
The municipal energy industry calculates that a total of up to 1000 megawatts of electrolysis capacity can be installed at the Moorburg site. This hydrogen is then to be used, among other things, to supply the industry in the port, but also the Tiefstack district heating power plant. However, how quickly this happens also depends on the development of electricity prices and the future regulation of the European energy markets. "The Moorburg site will be connected to the Hamburg companies and to the national Hyperlink pipeline system by a pipeline system," said Economics Senator Melanie Leonhard (SPD). "We are thus positioning Hamburg as a European nucleus from which the ramp-up of a modern hydrogen economy can be promoted and the pan-European economic power can be strengthened in this way."
Vattenfall had categorically ruled out restarting the power plant even in the energy crisis after the start of the Ukraine war. "From now on, large-scale hydrogen production and the dismantling of the existing power plant can be set up from a single source," said Christian Heine, head of Hamburger Energiewerke: "It is in the nature of things that there is a difference between dismantling, conversion and the construction of a new one infrastructure conflicting interests and legal challenges. With the purchase, we can avoid these conflicts in the future.”