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UPDATE 2-Germany, Russia flag hydrogen cooperation

* German economy ministers says gas imports still needed

* Wants to build hydrogen partnership with Russia

* Russian deputy prime ministers agrees to joint action

* Industry Minister proposes Germany supplies technology (Adds new comments from Novak, as shared by Russian government)

FRANKFURT/MOSCOW, April 29 (Reuters) - Germany will need natural gas from Russia as a bridging technology as it moves to cleaner energy but also will seek cooperation on its hydrogen strategy, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said at a Russian-German conference on Thursday.

Altmaier said gas was needed as Germany abandons nuclear power and coal-to-power generation, but it would seek to build on the established fossil fuels partnership as it develops hydrogen from renewable sources as an alternative fuel.

“At the other end of the (gas) bridge there will be renewable energies and green hydrogen, which we can build up jointly with Russia for big commercial scale,” Altmaier said.

“Russia has excellent prerequisites for this partnership.”

Germany hopes to develop large-scale green hydrogen by using renewable power from wind and sunshine to produce synthetic fuel for the industry, energy and transport sectors.

Its 9 billion euros ($10.90 billion) hydrogen promotion programme launched last summer envisages big import requirements as the roll-out of domestic production capacity will be hampered by land restrictions.

Altmaier’s remarks were echoed by Russian speakers.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said at the webcast meeting that the two countries had agreed that it was important to implement joint projects in hydrogen energy, in comments shared by the Russian government online.

He said he would order the energy ministry to present one or two initial project ideas from the Russian side, in response to suggestions from the German team.

Both countries would benefit from intensifying energy cooperation, including, on Russia’s part, building up renewables and hydrogen value chains, Novak said.

“We believe that (hydrogen) is one of the promising sources of energy in future,” he said.

“Germany will play a decisive role in promoting hydrogen energy in the European region. We hope for alliances in that sphere,” he said.

Russia was also going to engage in digitisation efforts to boost its energy systems with view to closer integration with western partners, he said.

Russian Industry Minister Denis Manturov said it could set up hydrogen clusters for production, and could develop transport options under joint standards and metrics.

“We are counting on attracting your modern expertise on a conditional formula: green hydrogen in exchange for technologies,” he said. ($1 = 0.8255 euros) (Reporting by Vera Eckert in Frankfurt and Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow; editing by Kirsti Knolle, Kim Coghill and Jonathan Oatis)

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