Chile and Germany have strengthened their energy ties. Both countries’ energy ministers have signed a letter of intent on green hydrogen. Given its singular renewable energy potential, Chile stands to gain from the energy transition, which, however, advances relatively slowly in countries like Germany.
Juan Carlos Jobet and Peter Altmaier, the energy ministers of respectively Chile and Germany, have signed a letter of intent to create a joint hydrogen task force.
The task force will facilitate energy cooperation by, among others, identifying potential key joint projects.
The agreement is part of the German-Chilean energy partnership the countries created in 2019. Under the partnership, both countries seek mutual benefits in creating hydrogen-based economies, according to a press release by the German energy ministry from Tuesday.
“We share with Germany the interest to move toward carbon neutrality by 2050. And to reach the goal, green hydrogen is essential,” Jobet said according to a Chilean energy ministry press release.
Altmaier highlighted the importance of international partnerships so Germany can reach its sustainability goals. “We focus on strategic partnerships with countries in which green hydrogen and its derivatives can be generated efficiently and cost-effectively. We have been working closely with Chile in this area since the bilateral energy partnership began in 2019,” he said.
“The first hydrogen project, which is funded as part of the National Hydrogen Strategy and with funds from the economic stimulus package, is also being implemented in Chile. We are therefore pleased to be able to further intensify our cooperation with an important international partner in this area,” he added.
Called the fuel of the future, hydrogen is set to become crucial during the next decades. Its green variant is produced solely with renewable energies like solar or wind, which are abundant in Chile. Apart from an ambitious plan to abandon coal energy generation, Chile is also pushing a renewable energy transformation that will benefit its own hydrogen strategy.
The country is a global pioneer in this respect and far ahead of Germany in policy and cultural terms.
Germany’s energy transition, or ‘Energiewende,’ has been controversial due to the country’s cultural nostalgia for coal mining, shifting costs almost exclusively onto consumers, and a car industry that has until recently focused on gasoline-burning vehicles. The car industry is strategic for Germany’s global economic power and is among the last traditional industries that still provide well-paid jobs in the country. Hence, it has much influence on national policy-making and at EU level.
Countries like Chile are crucial for the success of green hydrogen because of their singular natural assets. German policymakers are clearly recognizing this potential, but Chilean energy leaders must be aware that results will depend on the direction the German car industry takes.
Christian is Managing Editor at Chile Today, where he curates the foreign policy blog Teatinos One/Eighty. Christian is also Lead Editor of E-International Relations, co-editor of an open access textbook on International Relations Theory and Director at the Chilean Association of International Specialists (ACHEI).