Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub Seeks Billion-Dollar Grant for Four-State Energy Projects
Written by Andrew-Rossi on April 10, 2023
Last week, the Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub L.L.C. (WIH2) applied for a $1.25 billion grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (D.O.E.) to advance the hydrogen economy in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.
The submission is in response to the D.O.E.’s Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs) Funding Opportunity Announcement (F.O.A.) 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.
In February 2022, governors of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create the Western Inter-State Hydrogen Hub (W.I.S.H.H.) coalition to coordinate and develop a regional clean hydrogen hub. W.I.S.H.H. 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 D.O.E.’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (O.C.E.D.) by the April 7, 2023, deadline. As a result, WIH2 was formed in pursuit of that objective.
Spanning 408,000 square miles, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming produce approximately one-sixth of the nation’s energy.
Through a competitive application process, Atkins and the states selected eight qualified project partners for WIH2’s application. Universities, national laboratories, private-sector developers, and technology providers helped inform the decision-making process. Project developers awarded the federal grant have committed to significantly exceed the D.O.E.’s requested minimum 50% grant match.
“As an all-of-the-above energy state, Wyoming is poised to make the most of exciting new opportunities like hydrogen, which will be a cornerstone of our energy future. That is why we joined Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah in developing a bipartisan vision for a hydrogen hub,” said Governor Gordon. “The eight projects applying for the Department of Energy money encompass that shared vision. If a hydrogen hub is located in this region, we know it will have to minimize the use of our most precious natural resource – water. Wyoming has ongoing research and projects which will only enhance its success and expand our economy.”
According to Anja Richmond, W.I.S.H.H. program director, the four states worked in a concerted and collaborative way over the past several months to select projects that will significantly advance hydrogen use. Each project highlights the unique culture and economy of the home state. As a result, she is confident the WIH2 proposal meets O.C.E.D.’s F.O.A. goals, such as workforce, economic development, and sustainability requirements.
“We have conducted social characterization assessments for each impacted community and are confident that hydrogen will benefit these communities and their workforces for many years to come,” said Richmond.
The projects identified in the WIH2 H2Hub application are as follows:
- A.V.A.N.G.R.I.D. will leverage its experience in renewables to produce hydrogen in New Mexico (Navajo Nation in San Juan County and Torrance County.)
- A.V.F. Energy will produce renewable natural gas/clean hydrogen from biomass harvested for 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 (N.A.P.I.), a 275,000-acre Navajo Nation-owned commercial farm, seeks to become energy self-sufficient and raise produce in greenhouses to benefit 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. It will support hydrogen use in the electric sector and hard-to-decarbonize segments of the economy.
“With our footprint across all four states, Tallgrass is proud to bring our expertise in developing and operating large-scale energy infrastructure to the Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub. We look forward to producing and delivering the flexible, decarbonized energy solutions that will benefit the four-state region and beyond,” said Matt Sheehy, Tallgrass Energy president and C.E.O.
WIH2 will bring more than 26,000 jobs across the four states, including approximately 7,000 construction-related jobs. According to the D.O.E., hydrogen energy has the power to slash emissions from multiple carbon-intensive sectors and open a world of economic opportunity to clean energy businesses and workers across the country. Getting hydrogen right would mean unlocking a new source of clean, dispatchable power and a new method of energy storage. In addition, it would mean another pathway for decarbonizing heavy industry and transportation.
The total funding available for the H2Hubs is $7 billion.
Following the D.O.E.’s review of the applications, it is anticipated that the D.O.E. will invite applicants to pre-selection interviews this summer and announce and negotiate awards later in the year. However, due to the proprietary nature of the information disclosed in the application, WIH2 does not plan to make the application available for distribution.