Oklahoma’s plan for development of a regional clean hydrogen hub with Arkansas and Louisiana will be in some stiff competition for the federal government’s $8 billion in funding.
The 3-state proposal received a notice of encouragement by the U.S. Department of Energy, but so did 32 other such projects. The 33 were out of the 79 concept papers the DOE received by the end of 2022.
The funding for the regional clean hydrogen hubs will come from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The application deadline with the DOE is April of this year and funding decisions are anticipated to be made in the fall.
One of the latest to receive the letter of encouragement was the Southeast Hydrogen Hub coalition that includes major utility companies Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company, Southern Company and the Tennessee Valley Authority, as well as Battelle.
The Southeast hub could eventually include other members such as Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas announced their joint-venture in March 2022, a plan to create a regional hub for development, production and use of clean hydrogen as fuel and manufacturing feedstock. Governors Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, John Bel Edwards of Louisiana and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas called it a “bipartisan” partnership.
“Oklahoma is honored to join in forming this partnership, not because of convenience, or necessity, but rather because we share a similar vision and goals for the production, use, and economic impact that can result from creating this hydrogen economy,” said Gov. Stitt at the time of the announcement.
“Like our partners, we believe that creating as many end-use cases for commercialization with as many private partners is the quickest and best mechanism to spur real demand for this clean energy. The resources and opportunities in Oklahoma are complementary to our partners and tailor made for a diverse hub application to compete with others around the country.”
The partnership stated in the March 2022 announcement that it builds upon existing advantages, such as an inland seaport system that runs from Oklahoma through Arkansas and down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana, existing intermodal rail, existing pipeline infrastructure that runs from Oklahoma through Arkansas to the Gulf of Mexico, and some of the most valuable interstate freight highways in the United States. More importantly, hydrogen is already available for demonstration with new large clean hydrogen production hubs scheduled to come on line in the near future.