U.S. Department of Energy has earmarked up to $925 million for the Heartland Hydrogen Hub, one of seven selected initiatives.
This funding, following successful award negotiations, will serve as a catalyst for the development of a robust hydrogen ecosystem in the Upper Midwest. The hub, backed by key players including Xcel Energy, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, and TC Energy, in collaboration with the University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental Resource Center, aims to produce and utilize low-carbon hydrogen at a commercial scale across multiple states—Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana.
The primary goal of the Heartland Hydrogen Hub (HH2H) is to significantly reduce carbon emissions, to the tune of more than 1 million metric tons per year. To put this in perspective, that’s equivalent to removing 220,000 gasoline-powered cars from the road. It’s a monumental step towards addressing climate change and advancing sustainable energy practices.
Xcel Energy, a crucial partner in this initiative, envisions hydrogen as a clean molecule that can contribute to carbon emission reduction in various sectors. Their strategy involves harnessing their existing and future nuclear, solar, and wind resources across the Upper Midwest to produce hydrogen. This hydrogen will be blended into power generation, existing natural gas distribution systems, and utilized in agricultural and industrial applications.
The federal funding allocation is a significant boost to Xcel Energy’s ambitions. The company anticipates investing up to $2 billion over a decade for clean hydrogen production equipment and infrastructure. This funding, subject to negotiations, represents a substantial portion of the program’s costs for Xcel Energy’s contribution to the hub. Their role in the Heartland Hydrogen Hub is not limited to financial support; Xcel Energy is prepared to execute and fund the construction and operation of safe, clean hydrogen infrastructure in the region.
Xcel Energy, a company with nearly two decades of experience in leading the clean energy transition, is dedicated to reducing carbon emissions. They have already achieved a 55% reduction from 2005 levels in the Upper Midwest and are on track for an 85% reduction by 2030. This progress aligns with their vision to achieve Minnesota’s 100% carbon-free benchmark by 2040. The Heartland Hydrogen Hub is an integral part of this journey towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly energy landscape.
The impact of this initiative extends beyond environmental benefits; it also holds economic promise. The Heartland Hydrogen Hub is projected to create approximately 3,900 direct jobs throughout all phases of the project, including construction and operation. The hub is actively engaging with communities, tribes, and stakeholders to ensure shared prosperity in the region.
This project is part of the Department of Energy’s Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs), a network designed to promote clean hydrogen production, utilization, and infrastructure development. President Biden’s Investing in America agenda has made this initiative possible, with congressional approval in the 2021 infrastructure law. The H2Hubs will play a pivotal role in the commercial-scale deployment of clean hydrogen, thereby enabling cleaner and more sustainable power generation, energy storage, and the decarbonization of various sectors, including heavy industry, agriculture, and transportation.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm underscores the significance of this investment, highlighting its potential to create American-led industries that drive the global clean energy transition, generate high-quality jobs, and create healthier communities. This historic investment marks a transformative moment in the quest for cleaner, more affordable, and more sustainable energy options.
The Heartland Hydrogen Hub is set to revolutionize the Upper Midwest’s energy landscape, setting a new standard for clean energy and sustainability. It’s not just about reducing carbon emissions; it’s about embracing innovation, creating jobs, and fostering prosperity while steering America toward a brighter and cleaner energy future.