In an effort to establish a regional clean hydrogen hub, the Northeast as a whole last week submitted a massive $3.62 billion plan to the federal government. The announcement omitted New Hampshire.
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and more than 100 hydrogen ecosystem partners are vying for a $1.25 billion piece of the $8 billion in federal funding provided by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will create six to ten clean hydrogen hubs across the nation.
Last Friday, the seven participating governors released remarks regarding the final proposal, describing it as a “momentous day” and a “game-changing” opportunity for industry, economic development, and the accomplishment of their individual state climate goals.
In fact, New Hampshire is home to a sizable hydrogen project: Groveton’s redevelopment into “the world’s first power plant completely fueled by pure, economical transparent hydrogen” by Utah-based Q Hydrogen.
With the governor’s enthusiasm for hydrogen, it is even more puzzling why New Hampshire did not participate in the fierce competition for federal funding with its neighbours. Sam Evans-Brown, executive director of Clean Energy New Hampshire, said: “I find this one rather puzzling and I think a lot of others do.”
The only state in New England without a statutory mandate to cut greenhouse gas emissions or a thorough, current climate action plan is New Hampshire.
The hype around hydrogen is particularly strong because of Europe’s passion for it. In terms of decarbonization aims, it is a desirable fuel source because it doesn’t produce carbon dioxide, which is the primary driver of global warming.
Hydrogen is not produced uniformly. It can be taken out of fossil fuels or renewable energy sources, stored, moved, or burned to produce electricity. Thermal and electrolytic procedures are the most typical ways to make hydrogen fuel.
According to a report released this month by Allied Market Research, the worldwide clean hydrogen market is expected to reach $18.3 billion in revenue by 2032.
The support of hydrogen by the federal government through the regional centres has not been without controversy.
Critics claim that it is not a perfect solution. Other ways it can pollute the environment include leaks that let powerful greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere. Moreover, burning hydrogen results in the production of a significant amount of nitrogen oxide, an air pollutant that can harm a person’s respiratory system.
Regarding the latter, some are concerned that oil and gas companies will switch to burning hydrogen and use it as a “greenwashing” strategy. Greenwashing is the term for deceptive marketing strategies used to convince the public that a company is environmentally conscious or that a specific product or practise has environmental benefits.
The $3.62 billion proposal for the Northeast Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the federally supported clean hydrogen hubs will build networks of hydrogen producers, consumers, and local connective infrastructure to speed up the use of hydrogen as a clean energy carrier that can transport or store energy.
The group of Northeastern states led by New York was first introduced in March of last year. Collectively, the seven states are vying for a portion of the federal funds with more than 20 additional hubs that have been suggested across the nation.
Projects in the Northeast hub would be developed over a period of 10 to 12 years in four phases.
Evans-Brown thinks the state’s absence from the regional initiative is an indication that its recently established Department of Energy, established in 2021, has the resources or personnel to compete for funds.
Legislators are continuing working to prepare the state for the use of hydrogen in the future outside of the regional project. Sen. David Watters spoke this week in support of a bill he introduced to encourage the development of green hydrogen in the Granite State before the House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee.