Four Western states seek hydrogen hub funding

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Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming and the Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub they formed, became the latest states to file an application for a $1.25 billion grant from the US Energy Department for hydrogen development.

Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana filed a similar request as part of the national Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs plan to establish infrastructure-based hydrogen economies across the nation. The Western Interstate Hydrogen hub plan identified eight projects in the four states with at least one in each state.

Spanning 408,000-square-miles, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming produce approximately one-sixth of the nation’s energy. In February 2022, governors from the four states signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create the Western Inter-State Hydrogen Hub (WISHH) coalition to coordinate and develop a regional clean hydrogen hub.

WISHH project manager Atkins — a world-leading design and engineering firm and government contractor — was hired to identify qualified projects and to develop and submit a proposal to the DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) by the April 7, 2023, deadline. WIH2 was formed in pursuit of that objective.

Through a competitive application process, Atkins and the states selected eight qualified project partners for WIH2’s application. Universities, national laboratories, and private-sector developers and technology providers helped inform the decision-making process. Project developers awarded the federal grant have committed to significantly exceed the DOE’s requested minimum 50% grant match.

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“Through bipartisan collaboration with states and project partners, we are advancing a vital economic development initiative that will power the nation and create thousands of jobs — all while reducing emissions,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. “I look forward to the Department of Energy approving our plans for the premier hydrogen hub in the nation.”

According toAnja Richmond, WISHH program director, the four states worked in a concerted and collaborative way over the past several months to select projects which will significantly advance the use of hydrogen. Each project highlights the unique culture and economy of the home state. She is confident the WIH2 proposal meets OCED’s goals outlined in the FOA, such as requirements to address workforce, economic development and sustainability. “We have conducted social characterization assessments for each impacted community and are confident that hydrogen will benefit these communities and their workforces for many years to come,” said Richmond.

The projects identified in the WIH2 H2Hub application are as follows:

  • AVANGRID will leverage its experience in renewables to produce hydrogen in New Mexico (Navajo Nation in San Juan County and in Torrance County).
  • AVF Energy will produce renewable natural gas/clean hydrogen from biomass harvested as part of fire mitigation and environmental restoration in Utah (Duchesne, Iron and Sevier counties).
  • Dominion Energy Utah’s ThermH2 project blends hydrogen into a high-pressure natural gas system in Utah (Juab and Utah counties).
  • Libertad Power will produce clean hydrogen in New Mexico to serve off-takers across the Southwest in heavy haul transportation and power generation/storage (San Juan and Lea counties).
  • Navajo Agricultural Product Industries (NAPI), a 275,000-acre Navajo Nation-owned commercial farm is seeking to become energy self-sufficient and raise produce in greenhouses for the benefit of Tribal members in the Navajo Nation and San Juan County, New Mexico.
  • Tallgrass Energy will produce clean hydrogen serving the power, transportation, and other industrial markets through its eH2Power project in New Mexico and Front Range Hydrogen project in Colorado and Wyoming.
  • Xcel Energy Colorado will produce hydrogen on the eastern plains of Colorado using wind and solar and will support hydrogen use in the electric sector and hard to decarbonize segments of the economy.