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Pacific Northwest states seek billions to create hydrogen hub

WSLC’s Sims says project would be people-centered, create thousands of job opportunities


OLYMPIA (April 10, 2023) — The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association submitted its full Funding Opportunity Application to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on April 6 in a bid to become one of the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Billions of dollars in federal funding is at stake, with the potential for tens of thousands of jobs associated with a successful hub proposal in the Pacific Northwest.

“The Pacific Northwest has a culture of innovation and rich history with clean energy. We’re a natural fit for a hydrogen hub to build on that legacy and lead the nation in delivering a hydrogen economy to tackle our climate challenges,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “This project will bring tens of thousands of jobs to the region across many trades. We have an outstanding public-private partnership, strengthened by the participation of Tribal communities, working in concert to transform and expand our clean energy economy.”

The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association (PNWH2) is a multistate coalition that includes Washington, Oregon, and Montana and public and private entities working together to bring clean hydrogen power solutions that leverage the region’s renewable energy sources to market in the coming years to help meet the nation’s clean energy goals. April Sims, President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, serves on the PNWH2 Board.

Sims spoke at a press event last week to express the state labor movement’s strong support of the hydrogen hub project. She said that the WSLC applauds the PNWH2’s vision that clean-energy solutions are most effective when they are people-centered and create economic opportunities:

“While we share the common goal of ensuring a healthy environment for our families, working people are also concerned about how the transition to carbon-free energy will affect our jobs and our ability to provide for their  families. Our focus is not only on promoting clean energy development, but also on ensuring that the jobs it creates pay livable wages and provide a glide path to the middle class.

“That’s why we are so excited about the proposal to make the Pacific Northwest a clean, low-carbon hydrogen production and distribution hub. This is an investment in Washington’s workforce and in our organization’s goal of creating/sustaining good jobs, strengthening our communities, and promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Clean hydrogen will help our state and our nation solve two existential crises facing our communities: runaway climate change and runaway income inequality.”

After initially submitting a concept paper in late 2022, PNWH2 was one of 33 out of 79 proposals nationwide encouraged by DOE to proceed with the full application.

The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub (PNWH2 Hub) concept envisions creating a dynamic Pacific Northwest network of clean, renewable hydrogen suppliers and end-users to decarbonize some of the hardest-to-abate sectors, such as heavy-duty transportation, aviation, maritime, agriculture, and industrial operations.

The PNHW2 Hub will benefit communities throughout the region by focusing on creating economic opportunity across all demographics, resulting in tens of thousands of jobs, improved energy resiliency, and decreased environmental burdens in disadvantaged communities.

This is a highly competitive grant process, with teams from across the U.S. vying for the Department of Energy funding.

DOE is expected to make initial decisions around the end of this year, with additional vetting and negotiations to follow until final funding decisions are announced later in 2024.

For more information and updates, visit the PNWH2 website.

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