H2, Part 2

March 23, 2022

On Monday we highlighted the opportunity our state has for federal funding of a regional H2Hub. The prospects for Washington to win a Department of Energy grant were improved with passage of SB 5910 “Accelerating the availability and use of renewable hydrogen in Washington state”.

SB 5910 directs the Department of Commerce to:  

“Provide support to a public-private partnership [that will] prepare a timely and responsive application for federal funding to develop a regional clean hydrogen hub in Washington state.”

Marco Alverà, author of The Hydrogen Revolution, asserts in a recent Fortune article that, 

“For the energy transition to succeed, we need to move vast amounts of intermittent solar and wind energy from where it is ample and cheap to where it is consumed. This is where hydrogen steps in, not as a primary energy source but rather as an energy carrier.

Green hydrogen, which is produced by splitting water with green electricity, is by far the most cost-effective and efficient way of moving energy over long distances, especially when using the existing gas infrastructure. The additional cost of using green hydrogen instead of fossil fuels is minimal. Manufacturing a car with steel made from green hydrogen adds less than 1% to the cost.

Hydrogen is also far easier to store over long periods of time. It is often the cheapest and sometimes the only option to fully decarbonize heavy industry, long-distance mobility, and winter heating. It also provides the resilience and flexibility the energy system so badly needs to avoid extreme price volatility and blackouts.

By 2050, clean hydrogen will make up as much as 25% of our net-zero energy mix, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), generating a $20 trillion infrastructure investment opportunity, new technologies, companies, jobs, and ultimately a cheaper energy system than we have now.”

We can think of no place better to center such a promising infrastructure – and innovation – investment hub than right here in Washington state.

For a deeper dive (steeper climb?) on the subject of hydrogen, have a look at the Clean Hydrogen Ladder, one perspective of where clean hydrogen is most promising as part of a net-zero future, prepared by Michael Liebreich, host of the Cleaning Up podcast on leadership in an age of climate change.  Our understanding of the best use cases is sure to evolve as hydrogen usage scales, but the ladder provides interesting food for thought.

Clean & Prosperous Washington is a project of the Washington Business Alliance.
Contact us at info@cleanprosperouswa.com