The Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub LLC (WIH2) submitted an application this month for a $1.25 billion grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to advance the hydrogen economy in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The submission is in response to the DOE’s Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs) Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to establish infrastructure-based hydrogen economies across America.
WIH2’s H2Hub proposal identifies eight projects across the four states, with at least one project in each state. One of the projects is intended to benefit the Navajo Nation’s 275,000-acre farm.
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.
Hydrogen energy is a promising clean energy source that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonize heavy industry and transportation. The WIH2’s proposal highlights the unique culture and economy of each state by identifying projects that aim to produce renewable natural gas/clean hydrogen from biomass, blend hydrogen into a high-pressure natural gas system, and produce clean hydrogen to serve off-takers in heavy haul transportation and power generation/storage, among others.
The projects also seek to benefit impacted communities and their workforces for many years to come. According to Anja Richmond, the WISHH program director, the WIH2 proposal meets the DOE’s goals outlined in the Funding Opportunity Announcement, including workforce development, economic growth, and sustainability.
The WIH2’s proposal is part of the DOE’s Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs program, which aims to establish infrastructure-based hydrogen economies across America. The total funding available for the H2Hubs is $7 billion. Following the DOE’s review of the applications, it is anticipated that the DOE will invite applicants to pre-selection interviews this summer and announce and negotiate awards later in the year.
Overall, the WIH2’s proposal has the potential to advance the hydrogen economy in the Western US, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs, and bring sustainable economic growth to communities throughout the region.
- 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.