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Hydrogen a 'multibillion dollar opportunity' for Canada, says Wilkinson

Canada and Germany have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a trade program to sell hydrogen produced in Atlantic Canada. The agreement signed in Germany by federal Energy Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, shown in this Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024 file photo, and German Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck is to secure early access to the German market for Canadian hydrogen producers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada and Germany have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a trade program to sell hydrogen produced in Atlantic Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld (The Canadian Press)

Federal Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says selling hydrogen to Germany is a multibillion dollar opportunity for Atlantic Canada.

On Monday, the minister spelled out a plan that he expects to spur “massive investments” in producing the fossil fuel alternative.

Wilkinson is in Germany, where he announced Canadian financing for H2Global, a government-backed financial mechanism aimed at creating stable market prices and fostering investment. Speaking to reporters on Monday, he says it is “premature” to disclose a number.

“Germany has certainly offered publicly, on its side, 200 million euros,” Wilkinson said. “That is part of the conversation we’re having with them. Is that the number that we will match? Do we need less? Do we need more?”


Wilkinson says Canada and Germany have set a deadline of June 30 to establish the financial terms of the agreement. He adds that proposed producers from Canada are already in the same room with German buyers.

"In order for there to be green hydrogen coming out of Atlantic Canada, you actually have to go through all of this, and then once you have the offtake agreements, you have to build the production facilities, which typically is going to take you anywhere from 12 to 30 months," Wilkinson said.

"In order to be in a position to begin to supply Germany in the 2025-26-27 timeframe, which is really what German industry is looking for, you actually have to be moving through these steps right now."

Monday’s announcement is the latest step to establish a Canadian-German hydrogen supply link, as Europe’s biggest economy looks to shed reliance on Russia’s natural gas. In 2022, the countries struck an agreement for Canada to begin supplying Germany in 2025.

More than 80 low-carbon hydrogen production projects have been announced in Canada to date, according to Reuters.

Wilkinson says having at least two or three operational would be ideal in the market’s early phase.

“Hydrogen represents a multibillion dollar opportunity for Atlantic Canada,” he said. “It is an opportunity that has the potential to create thousands of good jobs, and to generate economic prosperity.”

Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.

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