The route of the WAL at a glance
The WAL pipeline spans a length of 26 kilometres from Voslapper Groden in the north of Wilhelmshaven, through the districts of Friesland and Wittmund, to Etzel, where it ties into the German natural gas grid. What is special about the pipeline, however, is above all the speed with which the pipeline was planned, constructed and put into operation. OGE took up the challenge and built the WAL pipeline in just nine months instead of several years – a new speed for Germany that should serve as a model for many other projects to secure our energy supply and make the climate goals achievable. Thanks to the tireless work of politicians, authorities and companies working in unison, the WAL pipeline has turned out to be a truly encouraging project in difficult times.
The WAL: the most important milestones, facts and figures
The development of the WAL pipeline involved two phases: First, the project went through a planning and approval phase in spring and summer, followed by the actual construction phase in the autumn months. Naturally, there are many individual steps to be tackled in a project like this, for example the preparation of the planning approval documents or the procurement of all necessary materials.
The WAL over time:
Started in March, commissioned in December
start of construction
WAL only possible thanks to the efforts of many
In addition to the high demands in terms of planning and materials, one thing was clear from the very beginning: close cooperation between politics, authorities, local citizens and companies was essential for successful project delivery. Without the many people who supported, guided and promoted the WAL project, it would not have worked, and we as OGE would like to thank all federal and state governments as well as the authorities involved, the numerous employees of our partner companies, the local residents and landowners who understood the urgency of this project, and of course all OGE colleagues. Together they have made this project a success.
Construction complete – now what?
At the beginning of this Policy Brief, we likened the WAL pipeline to a piece in a puzzle that had to be put together to gain independence from Russia and make our energy supply more secure. That is the contribution that this pipeline is making as of now. By definition, however, a piece of the puzzle is just one of many, and OGE wants to make further contributions. That is why we will continue to work on new projects in the coming years, always focussing on two aspects:
1. In the short term, securing our natural gas supply is crucial.
In 2023, we will extend the WAL pipeline by another two kilometres to connect another FSRU on the Frisian North Sea coast. This will increase the pipeline’s annual capacity from five to ten billion cubic metres of natural gas per year.
2. To achieve our climate targets, we need to ramp up hydrogen – now.
We need to gradually replace conventional energy sources with green ones. In the field of molecule-based energy carriers, hydrogen will be the key, so to embed hydrogen in our energy mix, OGE aims to build a hydrogen network. Planning for this is in full swing, for example as part of our H2erkules and GetH2 projects, and over the next few years existing natural gas pipelines will be converted to hydrogen, while new ones designed especially for hydrogen will also be built. Yet, what is still lacking is a political framework for hydrogen. This framework needs to be developed quickly in the coming months so that the hydrogen ramp-up can begin and we can achieve the goals set for 2030. Only with quick decision-making can we achieve the hydrogen ramp-up in time.
We are confident that we can build on the success of the Wilhelmshaven pipeline link and contribute further important pieces of the puzzle for a secure, climate-neutral energy system. You can count on us, today and in the energy mix of the future!