Cooperation with NRW partner countries accelerates the transformation towards climate neutrality

As a state agency, NRW.Energy4Climate enters into partnerships with international players to exchange knowledge, implement joint projects and secure the future energy supply through imports and the corresponding infrastructures. The goal is to accelerate the transformation towards climate neutrality of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.  


NRW.Energy4Climate has signed a memorandum of understanding with or is a member of the following international institutions:  


  • Danish Energy Agency, Denmark  
  • Pôlénergie, Dunkirk, France  
  • Innovation Norway, Norway  
  • EnergyAgency.Fukushima, Japan  
  • Franco-German Office for the Energy Transition, Berlin (member)  
  • Benelux Energy Expertise Network, Brussels (member)  
  • Export Initiative Energy, Berlin (member of the coordination committee)  


The following countries and regions are the focus of NRW.Energy4Climate's international relations:


North Rhine-Westphalia and the Netherlands, as immediate neighbours in Europe, have a long-standing partnership in the field of energy and climate action. The Netherlands has also set itself ambitious climate targets –- the neighbouring country intends to be climate-neutral by 2050. Hydrogen is seen as playing a key role in this. The focus of cross-border cooperation is therefore on the development of a European hydrogen economy, particularly with regard to the necessary infrastructure for importing and transporting climate-neutral energy sources and derivatives. In the future, however, the use and storage of carbon dioxide (CCU; CCS) will also become increasingly important. Several cross-border initiatives have already been launched to accelerate the climate-neutral transformation, particularly in the industrial and mobility sectors. 


An important initiative in the field of mobility is the RH2INE project, which aims to create the right framework conditions and infrastructure for the use of hydrogen to establish a climate-neutral transport corridor in the Rhine-Alpine region. NRW.Energy4Climate is coordinating the initiative together with the NRW Ministry of Economic Affairs and the province of Zuid-Holland. It comprises a network of more than 35 public and private partners from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Austria. In the area of infrastructure, the Delta Rhine Corridor project will play a strategically important role for North Rhine-Westphalia in the future, in which CO2-free or low-carbon hydrogen and CO2 are to be transported between the Netherlands, Germany and possibly Belgium from 2028. The GET H2 project, which is working on a Germany-wide large-scale hydrogen infrastructure, will also be essential for cross-border cooperation from 2025 due to its connection to the Netherlands. 


Contact: Inga Söllner, +49 211 8220 864-65, 


North Rhine-Westphalia maintains a regular exchange and close cooperation with Belgium. Cooperation takes place in various formats such as the Trilateral Chemical Strategy, the Benelux Union and European Territorial Cooperation. Regular events are also held in the field of energy to network NRW stakeholders with the Benelux region. NRW.Energy4Climate has been a partner of the Benelux Energy Expertise Network since 2022 and is therefore in contact with the players in the region's energy ecosystem. At a political level, cooperation is largely characterized by joint government consultations. Belgium is one of North Rhine-Westphalia's top 5 most important economic partners, particularly due to the port of Antwerp-Zeebrugge. 


Cooperation between North Rhine-Westphalia and Belgium is being further expanded in a targeted manner. Particularly in view of Belgium's growing importance as an export country for hydrogen, which is of central importance for the industrial locations in NRW, NRW.Energy4Climate is striving to further intensify this cooperation. 


Contact: Dario Omerovic, +49 211 8220 864-58, 


North Rhine-Westphalia and Denmark have already been working together since 2015. The partnership was significantly expanded with the Joint Declaration of Interest in 2021 between NRW.Energy4Climate and the Danish Energy Agency. The focus is on district heating, municipal heat planning and energy efficiency as well as hydrogen, carbon management and defossilization of industry. 


After the oil crisis in the 1970s, the Danes decided to become as independent as possible from imported fossil fuels. For this reason, district heating has been steadily expanded and increasingly decarbonised over the decades. District heating operators are non-profit organisations that are mostly owned by municipalities and citizens and are only allowed to reinvest their profits. The operators benefit from very good planning security, as the majority of Danish political parties commit to 10-15 year10–15-year plans on energy policy. These plans do not change if a new government comes into office. Municipal heating planning has been compulsory in Denmark since 1979. 65 per cent of households are connected to district heating networks. Oil and gas heating systems were banned as early as 2013, and since 2016 no old fossil-fuel heating systems may be replaced with new ones. In addition, there are high taxes on fossil fuels. 


In the electricity sector, wind energy dominates with a 55 per cent share of generation. Due to further expansion plans and the huge potential of wind energy, especially offshore, the Danish government is planning several power-to-X plants that can produce hydrogen and other climate-neutral energy sources. Since the demand in small Denmark will be relatively low, they plan to export most of the energy. Germany, as a southern, energy-hungry neighbour, is seen as one of the main consumers. The first pipeline projects for hydrogen are already in the starting blocks.   


In the area of CCS, too, there are few reservations on the part of the population thanks to good education, participation and communication work. Thanks to this and good geological conditions, the state has been able to position itself among the pioneers in the field of CCS.  


NRW.Enery4Climate regularly offers expert tours on the topics of district heating and municipal heating planning for municipal utilities and local authorities. We also arrange contacts in the fields of hydrogen and carbon management.  


Contact: Magdalena Sprengel, +49 211 822 086-459, 


In April 2022, NRW.Energy4Climate issued a joint declaration of intent with the French organization Pôlénergie. Pôlénergie supports private and public stakeholders in the Hauts-de-France region on their path to climate neutrality. The two regions have a lot in common: NRW and the Hauts-de-France region have a similar industrial history, which for a long time was characterized by steel production. This is precisely why both partners see it as their responsibility to make their industry future-proof by successfully transitioning the economy and energy supply from coal to climate-neutral energy sources and to exploit synergies in the process.  


The focus of the cooperation includes the decarbonization of industry and the promotion of hydrogen technologies for industry and transport. 


In addition, NRW, Silesia and the Hauts-de-France region have been working in partnership since 2001 in the Regional Weimar Triangle. As part of this political cooperation, annual expert forums are held which deal with topics such as energy and climate action. Here too, NRW.Energy4Climate contributes its expertise and promotes the exchange of stakeholders from the three countries Poland, France and Germany. 


Contact: Dario Omerovic, +49 211 8220 864-58, 


NRW.Energy4Climate is in regular contact with Scottish Development International, the Scottish Hydrogen Association SHFCA and the British Consulate General in Düsseldorf. In March 2022, the two Ministers of Economic Affairs from Scotland and NRW signed a declaration of intent to strengthen economic cooperation in the field of hydrogen and renewable energies. NRW.Energy4Climate supports this cooperation as a state agency. An exchange on the use and storage of carbon dioxide (CCU, CCS) is also taking place.   


Great Britain, and Scotland in particular, already produce a surplus of renewable energies and are energy exporters. By 2030, the Scottish government plans to build hydrogen generation capacity of 5 GW electrolysis, by 2045 25 GW is planned. Transitionally, according to the Scottish Hydrogen Strategy for the development of export structures, exports of blue hydrogen are targeted as early as the mid-2020s. This will make Scotland the most important hydrogen producer in the North Sea in the medium and long term. The UK also has expertise  in the implementation of large wind energy projects. Furthermore, the capture, transport and storage of CO₂ is a business field that is being developed in Scotland. With the lighthouse project ACORN, Scotland counts as an international pioneer. 


Contact: Verena Falb, +49 211 822 086-468, 


In April 2022, NRW.Energy4Climate signed a memorandum of understanding with Innovation Norway. The cooperation will initially focus on the use and storage of carbon dioxide (CCU; CCS) and the topic of hydrogen and its derivatives. The areas of mobility, renewable energies and system flexibility will also be considered in the future.  


Norway is pursuing ambitious goals for implementing the energy transition and achieving climate action targets. The country already generates 98 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources, primarily hydropower, and plans to expand wind energy. With it, large quantities of green hydrogen can be produced and exported. Germany and Norway signed a cooperation agreement to build a hydrogen pipeline in early 2023. The H2ercules and GET H2 initiatives will establish a direct connection of imports from Norway via Wilhelmshaven to the Ruhr area. Norway is also a pioneer in the field of CO₂ capture, use, transport and storage (CCX) and is planning the lighthouse project Longship. On the path to climate neutrality, Norway will therefore be an important and strong partner for North Rhine-Westphalia, both in terms of importing climate-neutral energy sources and with regard to CCX. At the same time, Norway plays an important role as a supplier of natural gas, electricity and mineral oil and is therefore also an important partner for North Rhine-Westphalia in this area.   


Contact: Verena Falb, +49 211 822 086-468, 


North Rhine-Westphalia and the Japanese prefecture of Fukushima work closely together. Cooperation between NRW and the EnergyAgency.FUKUSHIMA began in 2013. In 2014, both partners issued a joint declaration of interest, which was supplemented by the signing of a further declaration in 2022. This emphasizes the joint efforts of both countries to achieve climate neutrality and confirms the intention of an intensive economic exchange in the fields of renewable energies and hydrogen. 


As part of the cooperation, several delegation visits have taken place in both regions in the past on various topics such as hydrogen, photovoltaics, geothermal energy, wind energy and biomass. In addition, joint trade fair appearances have been organized at REIF in Koriyama and E-World in Essen every year since 2013. 


Contact: Dario Omerovic, +49 211 8220 864-58, 

Verena Falb

Norway, UK/Scotland

Phone: +49 211 8220 864-68

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Magdalena Sprengel


Phone: +49 211 8220 864-59

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Dario Omerovic

Belgium, France, Japam

Phone: +49 211 8220 864-58

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Inga Söllner


Phone: +49 211 8220 864-65

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