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Clean energy advocates hold cautious optimism for NW hydrogen hub

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The Biden administration has announced investments in a hub for hydrogen energy in the Northwest.

Clean energy advocates say it could be a momentous decision, if done right. Drawn from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed in 2021, $1 billion is going to toward establishing eight hydrogen production sites in Montana, Oregon and Washington.

Robin Everett, Northwest deputy regional field director for the Sierra Club based in Seattle, said the hydrogen hub will be most useful in sectors hard to electrify.

“What this presents is an opportunity to figure out how to electrify or clean up really hard to abate sectors of the economy, like airplanes and long-haul transportation and especially manufacturing,” Everett outlined.

On the other hand, Everett pointed out the hubs will be less beneficial if used for homes, buildings and cars. She noted it would essentially use renewable energy to produce hydrogen, which would then be converted back to renewable energy. The Biden administration said the investment is expected to create as many as 10,000 jobs in the region.

Everett argued hydrogen is also less beneficial if sources other than renewable energy are used to produce it.

“Using natural gas or nuclear to make hydrogen is not where we want to see the most amount of money being resourced for,” Everett emphasized.

The Pacific Northwest hub is one of seven regional hubs the Biden administration has proposed across the country. In total, the administration has announced $8 billion in investments for the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs Program.

Featured image: Seven regional hydrogen hubs are expected to produce more than three million tons of hydrogen each year. (energy.gov)

Eric Tegethoff

Eric Tegethoff is a journalist covering the Northwest. Eric has worked as a reporter for KBOO, XRAY FM, and Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland, Oregon, as well as other print and digital news media. In 2012, Eric traveled to North Dakota to write about the Bakken region oil boom. He's also worked at a movie theater, as a campaign canvasser and quality assurance at a milk packaging factory. Eric is originally from Orlando, Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida in 2010.

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