In order to compete for a portion of $7 billion in federal financing for their regional hydrogen hubs, proposed consortiums supported by states and others were encouraged by the Department of Energy to have their permits, cost estimates, and community engagement strategies in order.
A recent H2Hubs application educational webinar was given by DOE, which has been charged by the White House with developing hydrogen energy necessary to power long-haul, heavy trucks fueled by fuel cells, to enable regional hydrogen hubs to learn crucial components for federal funding approval.
The conversation was started by David Crane, director of DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED), who noted that the allocation for the hydrogen hubs is one of the “biggest financial assistance projects” in the organization’s record.
Only 33 of the 79 requests for DOE funding to create six to ten regional hydrogen hubs had their full papers due by April 7 at 5 p.m. Eastern time. The planned hubs that received letters of discouragement may still submit applications, nevertheless.
According to Crane, DOE concept papers for the 79 projects requested a total of $60 billion for projects totaling a combined $200 billion when private sector funding is taken into account.
By a wide margin, Crane told webinar attendees, “I believe the volume and breadth of the reaction to our FOA [Funding Opportunity Announcement] outweigh any of the hydrogen programs being pursued by our neighbors and other like-minded governments across the world.” The DOE-approved ones, according to him, will “ensure first mover advantage for the United States in the quest to fully commercialize hydrogen as the staple energy resource of the 21st century,” he said.
He advised them to seriously consider the proposal’s positive effects on the neighborhood and to involve those parties.
“A billion dollars of our valuable hydrogen hub funding not deployed because an otherwise great project ran against steadfast opposition from local communities, which had been overlooked during this process, is the last thing we want to see at the DOE,” said Crane.
In submissions that concentrated more on technological capabilities including production plants, end uses, and storage, applicants were missing details on cost estimates and schedule risks, according to Eric Miller of OCED project management, the DOE assistant director managing hydrogen hubs.
Miller continued, “We want to fund projects and hubs that are developed and, clearly, permit receipt will be crucial to this.” “Progress on state and local regulations relating to hydrogen must be accomplished in order for you to acquire your licenses.”
The time, effort, and risk involved in acquiring the requisite permissions and establishing laws for the novel uses of hydrogen in states and municipalities were urged upon applicants.
Jeremy Paul Ortiz, a spokesman for DOE, indicated that this summer will see the selection of proposals.
Meanwhile, DOE has already approved 18 proposed hydrogen hubs.
U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R) and Joe Manchin responded to West Virginia’s recent positive news (D). Capito expressed her appreciation for Kentucky, Ohio, and Maryland joining the initiative to create an Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub for energy production, saying they were “putting their weight behind our efforts.”
Manchin stated that the backing of Kentucky, Maryland, and Ohio “further strengthens the ARCH2 application, and I am happy we will work together to develop creative methods to bring energy security to the entire nation.”
Sean Strawbridge, CEO of the Port of Corpus Christi, stated that the public port authority has large tracts of land that are available and a growing industrial complex that can be converted to large-scale clean hydrogen production for regional as well as external end users in the United States and abroad. In order to de-risk and expedite several projects, it would provide a common carrier and connective infrastructure.