Hydrogen production plant proposed in Cushing by Summit Utilities


Summit Utilities wants to build, own and operate a hydrogen blending facility in Cushing and is in the midst of seeking approval from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

The company has not indicated what the cost might be but filings with the Corporation Commission indicate that if approved, it would affect a typical residential customer’s bill by less than 54 cents a month or $6.51 more a year.

Summit wants to produce “green” hydrogen fuel from the electrolysis of water. The company stated that there are no other sources of green hydrogen fuel currently produced and available within the Oklahoma region.

” Consequently, SUO seeks to selfbuild the Project to provide its Oklahoma customers with benefits of developing learning for the use of a new, supplemental pipeline fuel, diversification of sources of gas supply and of using hydrogen fuel as a type of low carbon gas,” stated the company in a filing.

The firm said hydrogen fuel is substantially different from conventional gas supply sources and could “someday be an important supplemental source of low carbon gas that provides benefits not available from conventional fossil natural gas.”

The company maintains that the hydrogen project falls in line with the 2021 Oklahoma State Energy& Environment Plan which was created to position the state to be a “Premier’all-of-the-above’ energy producer for many years to come.” Summit stated in testimony that it would contribute to Oklahoma’s hydrogen production goals and further position the state as a leader in the new industry.

“–the project will utilize Oklahoma resources to build out and sustain this project, such as electricity from Cushing Municipal Electric Authority and renewable energy certificates from the Grand River Dam Authority,” testified Gina Mace, Director Energy and Environmental Policy for Summit Utilities Inc.

Summit, a company with 625,000 customers in six states and operator of more than 23,400 miles of pipeline wants to take advantage of the pipeline system that enters Cushing, a site known as the Cushing Hub.

The nation’s pipeline system is well suited to moving and storing
large quantities of energy, and using that system to support the growth of hydrogen production is a use case that can be deployed today.”

The company pointed out in its filings that the rules of the Corporation Commission regarding acquisition of gas supply do not cover the unique nature of hydrogen so Summit asked for approval without meeting competitive bidding requirements.

Summit is currently challenging an Administrative Law Judge’s ruling against its request to purchase up to $930,000 in hydrogen gas a year from itself once the plant is built and operational.

The Corporation Commission recently upheld the Judge’s recommendation, pointing out the proposed production facility has not been built and there is no hydrogen gas presently available for purchase in the Oklahoma region. Summit asked for oral arguments to be heard by the Commissioners and the hearing will be held Thursday.

Summit Utilities owns natural gas distribution and transmission subsidiaries that operate in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Missouri and Texas. Its operations include Arkansas Oklahoma Gas, Colorado Natural Gas, Summit Natural Gas of Maine, Summit Natural Gas of Missouri, Summit Utilities of Arkansas and Summit Utilities of Oklahoma.