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Call for Contributions

Hydrogen and geopolitics in energy scenarios: In search of the next energy-security nexus



Date: 26 Jan 2023
Time: 9.45am – 5.30pm
Venue: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), Ludwigkirchpl. 3-4, 10719 Berlin, Germany

Organisers: Dawud Ansari, Jacopo Maria Pepe
German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP)

Theme: Energy scenarios—qualitative and quantitative—determine decision-making in business and policy. However, a growing body of academic literature worries about a lack of actual foresight, a too narrow focus on techno-economics, and obscure gaps regarding emerging technologies. “

Simultaneously, and also due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, two themes stand out: ambitions to build the hydrogen economy and the return of geopolitics. Low-carbon hydrogen can power industries and (long-haul) traffic even in a decarbonised world. Its convoluted and dynamic value chain though makes it difficult to predict how exactly hydrogen will interact with the energy system. A rearranging world order, retracting globalisation, and the return of the state in (Western) energy markets have thrown geopolitics back on the agenda and right into energy policy.

Obviously, the intersection between hydrogen futures and the future of geopolitics is potentially enormous⁠. REPowerEU seeks (besides 10 Mt of hydrogen produced domestically) that another 10 Mt shall imported annually by 2030. Moreover, current EU plans to rely (almost solely) on hydrogen from renewable electricity are bound to create a global race for electrolysers and their required raw materials. Hence, potential dependencies, increased competition, and various risks are apparent. Nonetheless, attempts to map them into current energy scenarios are still rare.

On this workshop, we will evaluate the status quo, discuss current (energy) scenarios featuring hydrogen and/or geopolitics, and assess how to incorporate those two themes into energy and climate foresight.

Context: The workshop is part of the project “Geopolitics of the Energy Transition - Hydrogen (GET H2)”, which is funded the German Federal Foreign Office and headed by Dr. Jacopo Maria Pepe at SWP. It examines the geopolitics of the global energy transformation with a focus on an emerging hydrogen economy.  The project looks at hydrogen produced from fossil fuels as well as renewable energies, analyses their respective value chains, and performs a scenario-based analysis on how to establish a mutually beneficial and smooth energy transition for Germany and the EU as well as selected hydrocarbon exporting countries in the MENA region, Africa and Central Asia/Russia.

The workshop connects to this scenario-based analysis: As part of our scenario-building efforts, we seek to reach out to fellow experts to mutually shape our vision of how hydrogen and geopolitics should be represented in scenarios. Although the workshop targets primarily academics and aims at fostering the academic discourse, its ultimate goal is shaping advice for German and European policymakers in anticipating the geopolitical consequences of a growing hydrogen economy and presenting possible pathways for action.

Call: We invite contributions on the following topics:

  • The status quo and role of energy scenarios
  • Energy scenarios that incorporate the role of geopolitics or international security
  • Energy scenarios that focus on the role of hydrogen
  • The interconnection of the hydrogen economy and geopolitics / international security / conflict

Please submit an abstract (200 – 400 words) for a potential talk to dawud.ansari@swp-berlin.org until 11 December 2022. We will notify you about the status of your submission by 18 December 2022. We have limited budget for travel reimbursements—please indicate in your submission whether you would require any travel funding from our side.