Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association receives positive review on US Dept. of Energy Hydrogen Hub proposal

Joint Washington-Oregon regional concept paper one of 33 out of 79 proposals to receive encouragement to proceed toward potential billion-dollar federal funding award

Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association logoSEATTLE, WA — Backed by a letter of encouragement from the US Department of Energy (DOE), the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association (PNWH2) will submit a full application for funding to construct a regional clean hydrogen hub in the Pacific Northwest. PNWH2’s concept paper is one of 33 concept papers given the greenlight to proceed from among 79 submitted to DOE late last year. In the Dec. 27 letter of encouragement, DOE said it expects to review and select six to 10 of the full applications for federal funding estimated at around $1 billion per hub.

PNWH2 Chair Lisa Brown, Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce, and Vice Chair Janine Benner, Director of the Oregon Department of Energy, shared a joint statement reacting to the news:

“We are grateful to receive encouragement from Department of Energy on the PNWH2 Hub’s concept paper.  This is an important milestone in the process to create a dynamic hydrogen market and supply chain in the Pacific Northwest, and we are pleased to see that DOE valued the ideas submitted last month,” said Brown and Benner.  “We now turn our attention to the full application process and competing for the hub funding. The PNWH2 is leveraging vast amounts of green power in the Pacific Northwest, expanding our commitment to community engagement and environmental justice, and deepening our partnerships with labor, tribal nations, and public and private sectors to bring this industry of the future and green jobs to the region.”

The PNWH2 is a public-private partnership created in the spring of 2022 as a special purpose entity to apply for the DOE Hydrogen Hubs program with support from Washington Governor Jay Inslee and subsequent funding from the Washington legislature. PNWH2 enlisted a board of directors that includes representatives from tribal nations, labor, business and industry, universities, and the environmental community spanning Oregon and Washington.

The PNWH2 submitted a 20-page concept paper to DOE outlining the potential for a robust network of hydrogen suppliers and off-takers largely in both western and eastern parts of Oregon and Washington.   The concept paper also outlined the potential for uses in transportation, industrial and agriculture sectors, as well as the rapidly expanding advanced zero-carbon aviation sector.   Although a list of final projects was not determined prior to the concept paper deadline, the PNWH2, led by its prime contractor Atkins Global, is working to complete deeper analysis and review of the more than 100 projects that responded with interest in participating in the PNWH2 final proposal.  The full applications are due to DOE on April 7, 2023.

This notification was the latest step in the DOE’s initiative to build a network of hydrogen hubs across the US in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change.  If selected, the PNWH2 Hub would receive an estimated $1 billion, providing a catalyst for the hydrogen economy in the Pacific Northwest that could bring tens of thousands of jobs to the region.  Additionally, there is an expectation that the federal funding would be matched by private investment.

In 2020, prior to the announcement of the DOE Hydrogen Hubs initiative, the Washington State Department of Commerce launched the Innovation Cluster Acceleration program (ICAP) which included the newly formed Consortium for Hydrogen and Renewably Generated E-Fuels (CHARGE).   CHARGE’s mission to grow the economy in the hydrogen and e-fuels space led to early coordination of many of the interested hydrogen stakeholders in the public and private sectors, putting the region in an advantageous position to compete for the DOE Hubs funding. CHARGE mobilized support from Commerce, Washington State University, and its parent organization JCDREAM to complete significant engagement and analysis of the region’s capabilities prior to the hub program’s official DOE launch.

“It is great to see DOE respond positively to the PNWH2 concept paper and officially encourage the completion of a full application,” said Aaron Feaver, Director of CHARGE and JCDREAM.  “There really isn’t a better place in the world to invest these funds.  The Pacific Northwest was well prepared for this opportunity with a commitment to low-carbon fuels and environmental stewardship that is second to none, the availability of cheap, green power and a long-standing commitment to environmental justice and community engagement all matching DOE specific requirements – It’s like we were built for this.”

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