On October 13, 2023, the United States Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced seven proposals from around the country selected to enter negotiations to receive funding under the DOE’s Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (“H2Hubs”) program. Projects located in California, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Texas, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey are included in the seven hydrogen hub proposals selected to enter negotiations to receive H2Hubs funding. In total, the seven projects covering these states are eligible to receive a share of up to $7 billion in federal cost-share funding.

H2Hubs is a federal program established under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to provide funding to create regional networks of hydrogen producers, consumers, and local infrastructure to accelerate the use, delivery, and storage of hydrogen across the United States. The program allocates a total of $8 billion in funding to DOE from 2022 to 2026 to create these regional hydrogen networks. The H2Hubs program is designed to support the production of clean hydrogen from a variety of feedstocks including fossil fuels, renewable energy, and nuclear energy. The program similarly provides support for a variety of end uses such as clean hydrogen production for use in the electric power generation sector, industrial sector, residential and commercial heating sector, and transportation sector.

The recent announcement allocates up to a total of $7 billion in cost-share funding. The remaining $1 billion is currently designated for “demand-side” initiatives to de-risk clean hydrogen through demand certainty. Below we briefly summarize three projects mentioned above: the California Hydrogen Hub, Heartland Hydrogen Hub, and Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub.

As the name implies, the California Hydrogen Hub will be located in California and has as its prime contractor the Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (“ARCHES”) LLC. ARCHES is a public-private partnership that includes the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, the University of California, several state and local governments, and private partners. This project will focus on production of clean hydrogen exclusively from renewable energy and biomass and is aimed at facilitating decarbonization of public transportation, heavy-duty trucking, and port operations. The project is eligible for up to $1.2 billion in federal cost-share funding.

The Heartland Hydrogen Hub lists Energy & Environmental Research Center (“EERC”) as its prime contractor and consists of projects across Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. EERC, a part of the University of North Dakota, will be leading the Heartland Hydrogen Hub’s development along with Marathon Petroleum Corporation, TC Energy, and Xcel Energy. This project seeks to help decarbonize the agricultural sector’s production of fertilizer, decrease the regional cost of clean hydrogen, and use clean hydrogen for blending with natural gas in power generation. The project is eligible for up to $925 billion in federal cost-share funding.

The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub will include projects in Washington, Oregon, and Montana, and is eligible for up to $1 billion in federal cost-share funding. The project lists as its prime contractor the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association. The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association is a private-public partnership that includes the Consortium for Hydrogen and Renewably Generated E-Fuels Network, Renewable Hydrogen Alliance, Washington Green Hydrogen Alliance, Washington State University, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, private corporations, utilities, and ports. The project plans to produce clean hydrogen exclusively through electrolysis, also colorfully known as “green hydrogen.” The project has a focus on “hard-to decarbonize” sectors, including heavy-duty transportation. In conjunction with parallel projects through the California Hydrogen Hub, the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub plans to facilitate a West Coast freight network through the expansion of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the heavy-duty trucking sector.

The four remaining projects are known as the Appalachian Hydrogen Hub (West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky), Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub (Texas), Mid-Atlantic Hydrogen Hub (Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey), and Midwest Hydrogen Hub (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan). The next step for these H2Hub selectees is the award negotiations process with DOE’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstration to discuss and resolve key issues prior to the issuance of a funding award.

Information about Local Engagement Opportunities can be found here at the DOE’s website. Interested parties can register for the upcoming H2Hub community briefings scheduled for the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub (October 30), Gulf Coast Hydrogen Hub (October 30), Heartland Hydrogen Hub (November 1), and Midwest Hydrogen Hub (November 1).

If you have questions about any of the issues raised in this post, contact:

Eric Martin
Michael Mills
Heraclio Pimentel, Jr.