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Gov. Wolf Announces Aggressive Push To Secure Clean Hydrogen Hub In PA

On May 16, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Pennsylvania is working with energy, organized labor, and environmental stakeholders to support a path forward for industrial sector decarbonization with an emphasis on the deployment of clean hydrogen and carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies.

This work will help ensure the U.S. Department of Energy invests in Pennsylvania for a Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub funded under the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The Clean Hydrogen Hub will help make the transition away from carbon-based natural gas, but take advantage of much of the same infrastructure.

A report released by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development in April calling for a transition away from carbon-based fuels underscored the importance of hydrogen hubs to a clean energy future. [Read more here.]  A recent guest essay did the same.  [Read more here.]

The administration and stakeholders committed to work collaboratively to make Pennsylvania a leader in the development of clean hydrogen and competitive for energy related federal funding authorized under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs initiative is part of the Biden Administration’s effort to create good paying energy jobs by expanding the use of clean hydrogen in the industrial sector.

Pursuing this opportunity will promote the creation of clean jobs in Pennsylvania, while supporting the Biden Administration’s commitment to significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“As governor of Pennsylvania, I have long prioritized energy policy that moves us towards a cleaner energy future, while also creating good paying energy sector jobs,” said Gov. Wolf. “As a national leader in energy and manufacturing with a strong workforce, Pennsylvania is primed for this opportunity to lead the transition to a new energy ecosystem in which fuels like hydrogen play a central role in both our economic success as well as achieving our decarbonization goals."

Pennsylvania is well-known for its bounty of natural resources and is an East Coast leader for natural gas production.

The Commonwealth is also home to a world-class workforce fueled by top flight institutions of higher education.

Gov. Wolf has prioritized opportunities to strengthen Pennsylvania’s leading manufacturing industry to keep up with growing demands and technology.

With its strong workforce and natural resources, Pennsylvania is well positioned to compete for siting of a regional hub that builds on existing energy infrastructure while modernizing our industrial and manufacturing base.

“My administration has been working closely with energy, labor and industrial stakeholders across all sectors to develop the public-private partnerships needed to address the challenges of industrial sector decarbonization and develop the necessary conditions for the commonwealth to be a leader in deploying clean hydrogen and carbon capture technologies," added Gov. Wolf. “We will continue to build on this momentum over the next several months as we pursue these opportunities for major wins for the economy, for workers, and the environment.”

24 Group Declaration

In addition, the governor and 24 industry, organized labor, and non-profit stakeholders signed onto a declaration signaling their commitment to take the steps necessary to create a regional ecosystem to achieve decarbonization, to transition to clean hydrogen, and to ensure the commonwealth is competitive in attracting investment and creating jobs in all parts of its economy.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $8 billion for at least four Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs to expand the use of clean hydrogen in the industrial sector.

The BIL requires that at least two of the hubs be located in regions of the United States with the greatest natural gas resources, like Pennsylvania.

In addition, Pennsylvania is well positioned in terms of many other Department of Energy priorities, including feedstock diversity, geographic diversity, training and employment, a high concentration of large industrial facilities with emissions, and an expansive multimodal infrastructure system.

The Department of Energy anticipates that applications for funding will open later this summer.

Gov. Wolf proposed initial funding in his 2022-23 budget proposal to support a strategic plan for industrial sector decarbonization through carbon capture, utilization and storage and advanced clean hydrogen technologies.

Over the next several months, the administration and public and private sector partners will continue to work collaboratively to identify the resources required to ensure Pennsylvania will be competitive, and to addressing any barriers that could hinder the commonwealth’s ability to pursue this once-in-a-generation opportunity for transformation of our energy economy.

Reaction

Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, said this on the hydrogen hub proposal--

“I am glad the governor agrees that Pennsylvania must continue leading the way on energy development and his plan to decarbonize our industrial sector using clean hydrogen is an excellent complement to my own legislation that would establish our state as a hub for carbon capture and sequestration.

"I am encouraged by his recognition of Pennsylvania’s vast natural resources and robust energy production and hope that we can work together to put our state at the forefront of this emerging industry.

"We must prioritize energy and climate policies that work in harmony and boost economic growth, create jobs and make Pennsylvania a premier place to live and work for decades to come.”

Karen Ferdun of Better Path Coalition issued this statement on the hydrogen hub initiative--

"The fossil fuel industry has been promoting a combination of false solutions to the climate crisis that sound promising, but amount to nothing more than a means to continuing to do business as usual.

“In Pennsylvania, the industry’s effort is coming in the form of the hydrogen hub proposed in February by EQT Corporation, Equinor, GE Gas Power, Marathon Petroleum (including its affiliate MPLX), Mitsubishi Power, Shell Polymers and U. S. Steel, in addition to other proposals like the Nacero gas-to-gasoline refinery proposed for Luzerne County.

“Today’s announcement by Governor Wolf of an aggressive push to see the hydrogen hub come to fruition is disappointing, but not surprising. Throughout his administration, Wolf has consistently put the industry’s interests over those of the public he was elected to serve.

“Cornell’s Robert Howarth and Stanford’s Mark Jacobson concluded that “there is no role for blue hydrogen in a carbon free future” in their analysis that found that “blue hydrogen has emissions as large as or larger than those of natural gas used for heat.”

“Blue Hydrogen and Gray Hydrogen both produced by natural gas are different from each other in an important way.

“What makes Blue Hydrogen blue is the use of carbon capture and storage (CCS). CCS, a failed and costly experiment in its own right, would bring to the state a new series of CO2 pipelines that would be much more hazardous than the natural gas and hazardous natural gas liquids pipelines that already crisscross the state.

“We are absolutely out of time for the magical thinking of weak elected officials who lack the courage to stand up to the industry and the creativity to come up with real climate solutions.”

PennFuture President and CEO Jacquelyn Bonomo had this to say on the hydrogen hub announcement--

“The Regional Hydrogen Hub partnership announced by Governor Tom Wolf on May 16 is the latest scheme by the fossil fuel industry to draw in taxpayer dollars and perpetuate fracking.

“The greenwashing on display today unfortunately clouds an important point—hydrogen and carbon capture technologies, particularly those backed by renewable energy, may play a targeted role in decarbonizing our economy. What the Governor and industry are pursuing is the complete opposite.

“PennFuture recognizes the role that manufacturing and energy play in Pennsylvania’s economy, but one thing standing between a more prosperous and clean Commonwealth is our outmoded reliance on fossil fuels.

“Development of carbon capture technology should be encouraged, particularly for existing, hard-to-decarbonize facilities that must continue to operate in a zero-carbon future. Pennsylvania doesn’t need a misguided hydrogen hub to accomplish this.

“Similarly, hydrogen may play a niche role for industrial users and there are many countries investing in so-called ‘green hydrogen,’ created using renewable energy. Despite that, Pennsylvania’s leaders seem intent on prioritizing dirty versions of hydrogen derived from fossil fuels, which is more of the same from a Commonwealth that has tied its economy to fossil fuels for centuries.

“Pennsylvania needs a true, modern clean energy strategy—not more subsidy schemes or the same regional fracking playbook with ‘hydrogen’ slapped on the cover.

“PennFuture encourages the Commonwealth to develop and implement a truly future-oriented energy strategy based on fast-growing renewable energy and vehicle electrification, as well as targeted carbon capture and green hydrogen projects. 

“PennFuture believes in a future where Pennsylvania is a leader in green manufacturing and renewable energy. We also believe in a future that embraces a clean energy economy that creates family-sustaining jobs while simultaneously combating the climate crisis.

“ The plan announced today will put Pennsylvania further behind in achieving those visions by continuing to tether our economy to fracking."

NewsClips:

-- Post-Gazette - Anya Letvak: Alliance Wants To Make Western PA A Hub For Hydrogen Production, Carbon Storage

-- EQT, Shell, U.S. Steel Launch Initiative Support Support Low-Carbon, Hydrogen, Carbon Capture Industrial Hub In Ohio, PA, WV

-- PennFuture: Pennsylvania As A Hydrogen Hub [Projects In PA]

-- Inquirer Guest Essay: Hydrogen Hubs Are Not Good For Pennsylvania - Ohio River Valley Institute

-- Bloomberg: Biden’s Hydrogen Hub Plan Sparks $8 Billion Race Among U.S. States

Related Articles:

-- Allegheny Conference Report: Decarbonization, Energy Transition Are Critical To The Future Competitiveness Of Pittsburgh Region

-- Duquesne Light Releases Whitepaper On Electrification's Potential To Benefit The Environment, Economy, Local Communities 

-- Guest Essay: Climate Change Demands Southwestern PA Transition To A New Low-Carbon Energy Reality - By Hilary Mercer, Shell Polymers/Pennsylvania Chemicals Project & Kevin Walker, President/CEO Duquesne Light

-- Washington & Jefferson College Center For Energy Policy & Management Hosts April 20 Webinar On Hydrogen: The Future Of Clean Energy?

--  Sen. Yaw To Introduce Bill Promoting Carbon Capture, Utilization And Sequestration

[Posted: May 16, 2022]


5/23/2022

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