On June 6, 2022, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced its Notice of Intent (NOI) to fund at least four clean hydrogen hubs across the United States. By way of background, the interest in hydrogen production skyrocketed following the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) in November 2021, which allocates billions of dollars in federal funding for hydrogen research and development. In particular, the IIJA provides $8 billion in funding for the creation of the regional clean hydrogen hubs—networks of clean hydrogen producers, potential consumers, and connective infrastructure within a close proximity. The DOE will eventually select locations for the hydrogen hubs based on multiple criteria including feedstock diversity, end-use diversity, geographic diversity, hubs in natural gas producing regions, and employment.
To the extent possible and in accordance with the criteria noted above, each hub must be located in a different region of the United States, at least one hub must produce hydrogen from fossil fuel, and at least two hubs must be located in regions that have the greatest natural gas resources. Based on Appalachia’s ability to meet these criteria through existing expertise in producing the region’s abundant natural gas and its suitable geology to implement carbon capture and hydrogen storage projects, leaders from government and industry in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania have all forecasted their intent to attract one of these hydrogen hubs primarily focused on hydrogen production from natural gas with carbon capture.
While Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania appear to be competing with one another for a hydrogen hub, other states have taken a different approach and formed regional coalitions. For example, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Massachusetts are working together on a hydrogen hub proposal focused on using the hub to address climate change and environmental justice, among other goals. The HALO Hydrogen Hub, which includes Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, claims to already have infrastructure and extensive resources for hydrogen production necessary for a DOE funded hub. The Western Inter-States Hydrogen Hub, which is a partnership between Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, touts its oil and gas industry as well as its wind, solar, and biomass energy resource.
The deadline for responding to the NOI has yet to be determined, but the DOE anticipates issuing the Funding Opportunity Announcement by September or October 2022. Further, pursuant to the IIJA, the DOE must select the clean hydrogen hubs no later than one year after the deadline for submission of proposals.