Federal Dollars Make The Competition Fierce As Oregon Competes To Become A Hydrogen Hub

Oregon Competes: A private business is now attempting to compete with Oregon and Washington’s government-financed Pacific Northwest hydrogen center, as we previously reported. However, it is only the beginning of this tale, and Oregonians may learn much more in 2023.

Oregon Competes To Become A Hydrogen Hub

States are signing agreements with their neighbors or going it alone across the nation to pursue billions in federal funding to establish “hydrogen hubs,” clustered centers for the production, storage, and use of the gas that many see as an essential component of the puzzle for decarbonizing the U.S. economy.

However, there is disagreement over how extensive of a role it ought to take.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill contains $7 billion that the U.S. Department of Energy wants to distribute. This money could be used to fund up to ten regional clean hydrogen hubs, which are defined as “a network of clean hydrogen producers, potential clean hydrogen consumers, and connective infrastructure located in close proximity” and could be located throughout the nation.

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The department said in a news release last month that “The H2Hubs will be a central driver in helping communities across the country benefit from clean energy investments, good-paying jobs, and improved energy security – all while supporting President Biden’s goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050.”

Oregon Competes To Become A Hydrogen Hub
Oregon Competes To Become A Hydrogen Hub

This funding source combines with measures in the Inflation Reduction Act that might increase the use of hydrogen. These provisions included the creation of a clean hydrogen production tax credit as well as significant modifications to carbon capture tax credits.

“Climate change objectives will drive some states. According to Bryan Willson, a mechanical engineering professor and executive director of the Energy Institute at Colorado State University, hydrogen is a crucial instrument for reaching those climate goals. Others are primarily driven by economic growth, and hydrogen offers a fantastic array of brand-new commercial opportunities.

Willson also serves as the director of the Rocky Mountain Alliance for Next Generation Energy, a group of universities and national labs from four western states that are working together to develop the Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub, a partnership between the red and blue states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

Even conservative states have changed their minds about the necessity of capturing carbon and the obvious effects of a changing climate, according to Matt Fry, a senior policy manager at the nonprofit Great Plains Institute who focuses on carbon management and a former adviser to Republican Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead.

We are aware that this is what we must do, he continued. “As we transition from a more fossil fuel-based to an electric economy, we’ll need hydrogen.”

Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas have similar hub agreements, as have Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and Wisconsin, as well as Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. A separate memorandum of understanding between Minnesota and Wisconsin and Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio aims to “accelerate and improve” the production of clean hydrogen. Additionally, Washington and Oregon are working together to establish a center in the Pacific Northwest.

Other States Efforts

Other states, like Pennsylvania and Georgia, have started their own initiatives to establish centers.

According to Jeffery Preece, director of research and development at the Electric Power Research Institute, “the hubs are trying to focus on places where you have resources to make it, resources to utilize it, and resources to balance that supply and demand.”

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“We’re still figuring out where and how to use hydrogen in a world without carbon emissions. It’s crucial to involve all relevant parties in this in order to resolve the issue. Finding those areas where we now have challenges due to infrastructure restrictions is made easier by getting it concentrated in hubs.

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