GILLETTE, Wyo. — The Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub, in which Wyoming is a partner, received a recommendation on its concept paper from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs program.
Wyoming is partnering with Colorado, New Mexico and Utah on the hydrogen hub concept, which is part of the states’ strategy for safe, clean and sustainable use of clean hydrogen. The coalition launched in February. The Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub, or WISHH, would serve 11.5 million people across 408,000 square miles, according to a fact sheet.
The Department of Energy said reviewers only issued “Encouraged” recommendations to 33 of the other 78 concept papers that entities submitted in the fall, according to a Dec. 29 Wyoming Energy Authority news release.
“This strategy is critical to reaching the region’s diverse energy needs and policy goals, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, using a broad range of feedstock to develop hydrogen, ensuring economic competitiveness, and supporting communities on the front lines of the energy transition,” the release said.
The hub members learned of the recommendation Dec. 27 after reviewers scored each concept paper based on criteria that include how the hub will benefit communities and contribute to a national hydrogen network.
Wyoming Energy Authority Executive DirectorGlen Murrell said in the release that the department’s positive response didn’t surprise the coalition.
“We know we have a winning proposal,” Murrell said. “We have a lot of work to do to capitalize on this good news, and we are looking forward to building on our concept and submitting a winning application.”
Final applications are due April 7. The department anticipates choosing awardees in the summer of 2023.
While entities that don’t receive an “encourage” notification can still submit a full application, the Department of Energy recommends those applicants spend their time and resources elsewhere, the release said.
The Department of Energy’s Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs program, also known as H2Hubs, will grant up to $7 billion in federal funding to establish six to 10 regional clean hydrogen hubs across the country, as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $8 billion hydrogen hub program, the department said. The program will help communities benefit from clean energy investments, jobs and energy security. The program will develop hubs that demonstrate the production, processing, delivery, storage and end-use of clean hydrogen, which support President Joe Biden’s goals of a 100% clean electrical grid by 2035 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Murrell, Wyoming Energy Authority Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub Program Director Anja Bendel and Wyoming Office of the Governor Chief Energy Advisor Randall Luthi are Wyoming’s official members on the hub’s executive committee. Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub is contracting through the Wyoming Energy Authority for Atkins Nuclear Solutions to serve as the hub’s prime contractor. In the concept paper, hub leadership redacted information that’s confidential and would compromise the hub’s competitiveness against other national hubs if it were released, a Dec. 6 news release said.