Clean coalition | Northeast states join $8bn race to be US hydrogen hub

New York has signed a multi-state agreement that includes 40 private and public sector entities to develop a proposal for a regional clean hydrogen hub in a bid to grab part of $8bn of funding from the Department of Energy (DoE).

New York is teaming with Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey, and “hydrogen ecosystem” partners including corporations such as Doosan, renewables developer Invenergy, and fuel cell specialist Plug Power; state agencies; universities; and utilities Long Island Power Authority, National Grid, and the New York Power Authority, among others.

“Expanding the hydrogen market is critical to New York’s aggressive pursuit of clean energy alternatives that will supercharge our economy and advance our climate goals,” said governor Kathy Hochul. “Coalitions like this one serve as a model to the nation on the collaboration that is required to meet this moment and bring us closer to a carbon-neutral future.”

New York has a legal mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 85% by 2050. That is also when Connecticut and New Jersey aim to cut emissions 80%, while Massachusetts expects to be carbon-neutral by then.

According to her office, the hub as envisioned would connect the entire value chain of hydrogen producers, users, technology, and equipment manufacturers, as well as the research and development community including national laboratories. This ecosystem would be shared across the four states.

It was not immediately clear what clean-hydrogen production route the forthcoming proposal would seek to fund: carbon capture and storage (blue), renewables (green), or nuclear (pink). Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm will have to winnow-out at least one hub proposal from each. The deadline for solicitating proposals is 15 April.

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Race for funding

The consortium is the third formed among states to compete for DoE funding that Congress appropriated last year under the $1trn Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Aside from $8bn for creation of four regional clean hydrogen hubs, there is also $1.5bn available for other hydrogen-related demonstration and manufacturing facilities.

Last week, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma formed a partnership to compete for $1bn or more funding while Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming in February proposed a Western Inter-State Hydrogen Hub that would have facilities in all four states. Those states did not quantify their upcoming funding request.

Aside from the federal funding opportunity, New York and the three other states will work with their other consortium partners to devise ways to integrate offshore wind and solar PV into production of clean hydrogen and deploy it as a manufacturing feedstock and/or transportation fuel.

New York is already moving to develop a clean hydrogen regulatory framework to measure emissions reduction and health benefits and will evaluate and develop codes and standards to ensure its safe operation.

Hochul has tasked the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) with creating a programme to support locally owned green hydrogen-powered microgrid solutions, which can help underserved communities replace polluting backup generators.

The agency will also release $27m in funding to support product development, pilots, and demonstrations through competitive solicitations, and will propose a green hydrogen engineering study and/or assessment for district heating and cooling.

Private companies are already investing in US industrial-scale hydrogen production. Among the biggest renewable hydrogen projects nationwide include start-up Green Hydrogen International’s 60GW H2 facility in South Texas, to be powered by wind and solar. Southern California Gas Company’s Angeles Link calls for employing 25-35GW of curtailed and new wind and solar power, plus 2GW of energy storage, to power 10-20GW of electrolysers to produce H2.

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