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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

ONE: Clean-hydrogen grants "the funding opportunity you’ve all been waiting for"

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The creation of a national network of clean-hydrogen hubs has gotten a $7 billion boost from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) in the form of grant funding, one of the largest investments in the Department of Energy's (DOE) history.

The DOE opened the application process for the H2Hubs grants on Sept. 22, the agency announced at the time. The agency anticipates funding six to 10 regional clean-hydrogen hubs across the country, "which will form a critical arm of America's future clean energy economy," the DOE states in the announcement. The hubs will be managed by the DOE's Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations with support from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

"(T)he H2Hubs will be a central driver in helping communities across the country benefit from clean energy investments, good-paying jobs, and improved energy security," the announcement states, "all while supporting President Biden’s goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050."

The DOE calls hydrogen a "versatile fuel" from a variety of "clean, diverse and domestic" sources, including wind, solar and nuclear energy. Hydrogen is considered a "strong option to decarbonize" heavy industry and heavy-duty transportation, the DOE states, and its flexibility is "an important component" of the Biden administration's goals of "a carbon-free grid by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050."

Projects that receive funding must include a Community Benefits Plan (CBP), the DOE reports. The DBPs should "support meaningful community and labor engagement; invest in America’s workforce; advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility; and contribute to the President’s goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities," the report states.

H2Hubs are a "critical component" in the administration's goals of creating a clean-energy economy to mitigate climate change and strengthen energy security, according to the DOE. The hubs will also bolster local economies by providing good-paying union jobs, the agency states. The agency states its "fundamental priorities" in developing H2Hubs are addressing environmental injustice and focusing on under-served communities that have been hard-hit by previous environmental damage.

The DOE released also a draft of its National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap, which details the possibilities for hydrogen production and use and how clean hydrogen can promote economic development while helping to decarbonize the country. A final version will be released soon and updated every three years, the DOE states.

“These H2Hubs are a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lay the foundation for the clean hydrogen future President Biden is building—one that will lift our economy, protect the planet, and improve our health,” said DOE Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm. “With input from America’s brightest scientists, engineers, community organizers, and entrepreneurs, this national hydrogen strategy will help us accelerate the development and deployment of technologies to realize the full potential of clean hydrogen energy for generations to come.”

The Office of Nuclear Energy shared its enthusiasm for the H2Hubs grants in a Twitter post.

"It’s the funding opportunity you’ve all been waiting for," the ONE posted. "Huge news out of @ENERGY to generate clean hydrogen. At least one of these hydrogen hubs will be dedicated to the production of h2 using nuclear energy."

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