Cantwell, Colleagues Declare Support for Potential PNW Hydrogen Hub

Letter advocates for $1.25 billion in competitive federal infrastructure matching funds for $5 billion regional clean hydrogen collective; Lawmakers say project “can facilitate the creation of an affordable and self-sustaining clean hydrogen economy”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and U.S. Representative Kim Schrier, M.D. (D, WA-08) led a bipartisan delegation of Washington and Oregon lawmakers voicing support for a pioneering plan to build a regional clean hydrogen energy hub called the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association (PNWH2).

In a letter to the United States Department of Energy, the delegation declared their “strong support” for PNWH2’s federal grant application under the Department’s Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs) program.

“Supported by the region’s vast federal and non-federal hydropower resources, the PNWH2 will not only demonstrate our region’s ability to produce, process, deliver, store, and use clean hydrogen, we believe it will serve as a national model of how an integrated clean hydrogen network can facilitate the creation of an affordable and self-sustaining clean hydrogen economy,” the lawmakers wrote.

“With federal support, the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association will be able to build out a robust network of hydrogen suppliers and off-takers in both western and eastern parts of Washington and Oregon, as well as parts of Montana. Under this proposal, hydrogen will be produced by harnessing existing clean, renewable, and abundant hydropower resources in our region, resulting in the greenest hydrogen in the nation.”

Hydrogen can be used as an emissions-free fuel to generate electricity, power transportation, and make industrial products like fertilizer. It is currently produced primarily from natural gas, minimizing its environmental benefits. The hub proposed by the PNWH2 would instead harness the Pacific Northwest’s abundant and clean hydropower supplies to produce hydrogen through hydrolysis.

Sen. Cantwell helped include the H2Hubs program and other key hydrogen investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) during consideration in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee in July 2021, where she is a senior member, and push for its successful passage through the Senate. Together with the clean hydrogen incentives included in the Inflation Reduction Act, these investments represent a historical investment that will help spur hydrogen to be an important piece of the decarbonizing puzzle needed to reach our climate goals.

Rep. Schrier serves as the Vice Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is a member of the Energy Subcommittee. She has spoken to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm many times about the importance of this funding coming to Washington state.

The H2Hubs program was established by the BIL. It designates up to $7 billion in competitive grants to establish between six and 10 regional clean hydrogen hubs across the United States. These networks of hydrogen producers, consumers, and local connective infrastructure will help accelerate the use of hydrogen as clean energy and work toward achieving President Biden’s goal of a 100 percent clean electrical grid by 2035 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The application period will close on April 7, 2023.

The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association is a collective of government, tribal, labor, energy, research, nonprofit and private sector stakeholders aimed at creating a hydrogen center in the Pacific Northwest region. This public-private partnership includes leaders from the Washington State Department of Commerce, the Oregon Department of Energy, Amazon, Washington State University, and others.

In addition to Sen. Cantwell and Rep. Schrier, the letter was signed by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), as well as Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R, WA-05), Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D, WA-03), Dan Newhouse (R, WA-04), Adam Smith (D, WA-09), Val Hoyle (D, OR-04), Pramila Jayapal (D, WA-07), Suzan DelBene (D, WA-01), Marilyn Strickland (D, WA-10), Andrea Salinas (D, OR-06), Lori Chavez DeRemer (R, OR-05), Derek Kilmer (D, WA-06), Earl Blumenauer (D, OR-03), and Rick Larsen (D, WA-02).

The full letter can be read HERE.