36th AESOP Annual Congress 2024 Paris, France
“GAME CHANGER? Planning for just and sustainable urban regions”


Planning towards carbon free energy systems: How green hydrogen contributes to the development of sustainable regions

This Special Session is hosted within Track 7


  • Caroline Andersen, TU Dortmund 
  • Dominik Coquette, Westnetz GmbH 


  • Caroline Andersen, TU Dortmund 
  • Dominik Coquette, Westnetz GmbH
  • Pascal  Friedrich, TU Darmstadt

The transformation of energy systems is a major global challenge for the development of sustainable regions. Green hydrogen as storable and flexible energy carrier is a game changer in the process of energy transition. It is not only a way to store volatile renewable energies, but also helps to interconnect different energy sectors and therefore improves energy efficiency. Integrating green hydrogen generation and utilization improves the flexibility of regional energy systems in the transition towards zero-emissions
energy usage. 

Green hydrogen can be produced via the electrolysis of water with renewable energy and facilitates therefore the integration of local, decentralized and intermittent renewable energy production. Additionally, the versatile application possibilities of green hydrogen enable the decarbonization of many energy-intense processes in high-emitting sectors such as manufacturing industry, mobility or heat and electricity. 

While the necessary rapid development of a coherent hydrogen energy system is embedded in several hydrogen strategies (e.g. EU hydrogen strategy), a deeper integration into the process of regional and urban planning is progressing only slowly. Planning methods can support this process of hydrogen integration as these methods tackle challenges of sustainability assessment, civil acceptance and conflict management. Moreover, looking at the limited time horizon, developing new planning tools can even accelerate the development of regional hydrogen infrastructure. 

Energy infrastructure is often described as a natural monopoly and hence has to be evaluated holistically. Planning at the cross-section between social, ecological and economic stakeholders has therefore the opportunity to manage the sustainable development of regions by identifying ideal scenarios for green hydrogen implementation. 

Therefore, this special session focuses on strategies and tools for accelerating the planning process to develop hydrogen infrastructure that contribute to sustainable urban regions in the context of energy transition. It will explore conceptual and empirical approaches in progressing the planning process of green hydrogen infrastructure. Furthermore, by examining case studies the inhibiting and facilitating factors throughout the planning process are highlighted.

Keywords:  Hydrogen, Infrastructure, Acceleration of planning, planning process, planning methods