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Regional Hydrogen Hubs Grow Ahead of Federal Funding Opportunities
Two New England states recently joined the northeastern regional hydrogen hub coalition, adding to the expanding list of agencies ready to benefit from federally funded projects.
With the addition of Rhode Island and Maine, the New York-led coalition now involves six states. Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey were the first to partner with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Empire State Development on the hub proposal.
NYPA CEO Justin Driscoll said the addition of Maine and Rhode Island would “significantly boost the value” of a Northeast proposal, making the regional hub a “stronger, more multifaceted contender” for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Regional Hydrogen Hub $8 billion funding program.
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Since the original Northeast coalition in March proposed a hub, more than 20 energy companies and universities have joined the 40 seeking DOE funds. New partners also include Advent Technologies Holdings Inc., Air Liquide SA, EDP Renewables North America, Equinor Wind US, Eversource Energy, General Electric Co., Linde plc, Ørsted A/S, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rhode Island Energy and University of Connecticut.
“Innovative technologies are showing the potential of green hydrogen as a fossil fuel alternative and the time is right to take a deeper dive into the many opportunities that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, benefit the workforce and help build a clean energy economy,” Driscoll said.
Each of the states in the coalition plans to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. Connecticut, Maine and New Jersey are targeting an 80% reduction, while New York is aiming for an 85% reduction from a 1990 baseline by 2050. Massachusetts and Rhode Island are aiming for net-zero GHG emissions by 2050, with Rhode Island also targeting 100% renewable electricity by 2023.
NYSERDA said the coalition is expecting to focus on a hydrogen hub that demonstrates the use of renewables, including hydropower, nuclear, solar, onshore and offshore wind generation.
Most of the states already are moving forward with offshore wind projects. Most recently, the Department of Interior requested competitive interest for commercial leasing in the Gulf of Maine.
Offshore Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Ørsted and Eversource are in 50/50 partnerships on the Bay State Wind, Revolution Wind, South Fork and Sunrise Wind projects. Also planned for the coastal waters of Massachusetts is the 2.4 GW Mayflower Wind Energy LLC project. The 50/50 joint venture is between EDP Renewables and Engie SA’s joint venture, Ocean Winds, and Shell plc’s Shell New Energies US LLC.
Ørsted also is partnered with New Jersey’s Public Service Enterprise Gp. on the 1.1 GW Ocean Wind 1 project. In addition, European supermajor Equinor partnered with BP plc on the Beacon and Empire Wind projects in the New York Bight.
The hydrogen hub coalition plans focus on end-use for green hydrogen applications in transportation for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, as well as industrial and power generation uses.
DOE is expected to offer funding opportunities between September and October. According to NYSERDA, the initial funding could support six-to-10 hubs, with funding allotted in 2023. Each hub proposal could be awarded up to $1.25 billion.
WISHHing For Hydrogen
Meanwhile, the Western Inter-States Hydrogen Hub (WISHH) coalition, consisting of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, has a request for expression of interest (RFEI) to garner input as it prepares to submit a hub proposal to the DOE.
“Hydrogen projects will not be developed without major investment and buy-in from private companies,” said Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon. “While our four states have worked out the parameters of our joint efforts, it is now time to find out what projects the public and industry will find feasible.”
The four states first partnered in February and signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate.
WISHH also highlighted the Rocky Mountain Alliance for Next Generation Energy (RANGE) website at which interested parties are able to respond to the RFEI.
“Given the high levels of interest in the nation’s rapidly growing hydrogen sector, the Request for Expression of Interest will serve as a critical avenue for stakeholder input to WISHH and RANGE.” said WISHH program director Anja Bendel. “We encourage anyone looking to get involved or provide input in this effort to utilize this site.”
With the presence of biomass, solar and wind resources available, WISHH highlighted the coalition’s “potential to create a thriving hydrogen economy.” As Colorado and Wyoming overlay parts of the Denver-Julesburg Basin, and southeastern New Mexico overlaying the Permian Basin, WISHH said the coalition holds “favorable underlying geologies and regulatory structures” for a hydrogen hub.
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