On Monday, June 6, 2022, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced a notice of intent (NOI) to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to fund Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs). The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), authorized and appropriated $8.0 billion from fiscal years 2022 to 2026 to support the development of H2Hubs, networks of clean hydrogen producers, potential clean hydrogen consumers, and connective infrastructure located in close proximity. (42 U.S.C. § 16161a(a)). The NOI provides a high-level draft plan for DOE’s current vision to meet the BIL requirements for the H2Hubs program, which will likely evolve during the FOA development process. Guidance on specific application and outcome reporting requirements will be included in the FOA, which DOE anticipates issuing in the September/October 2022 timeframe.
The H2Hubs will support the development and deployment of clean hydrogen technologies, as required by the BIL, forming the foundation of a national clean hydrogen network and contributing to decarbonization across the economy. DOE anticipates awarding funds to H2Hub teams that bring together diverse technologies with the ability to produce and utilize large amounts of hydrogen. DOE intends to fund H2Hubs that demonstrate balanced hydrogen supply and demand, connective infrastructure, and financial viability after the completion of DOE funding. The FOA will also include a range of equity considerations including energy and environmental justice, labor and community engagement, consent-based siting, quality jobs, and inclusive workforce development to support the Biden Administration’s decarbonization goals.
The ultimate success of clean hydrogen is pivotal to the BIL’s goals because of hydrogen’s versatility: it can complement other clean energy technology options in a variety of sectors, including heavy industry, transportation, electricity generation and energy storage. With H2Hubs the DOE intends to advance these goals on two fronts: first by establishing regional hydrogen ecosystems, and second by providing replicable examples of low-GHG, economically viable solutions to decarbonization. The FOA will provide resources to develop H2Hubs in different regions and utilize diverse energy and feedstock sources, such as (1) fossil fuels, (2) renewable energy, and (3) nuclear energy, which will each be used by at least one hub as a source. (42 U.S.C. § 16161a(c)(3)(A)). Similarly, every H2Hub will produce different end-uses, producing at least one use each in the (1) electric power generation sector, (2) industrial sector, (3) residential sector, (4) commercial heating sector and (5) transportation sector. (42 U.S.C. § 16161a(c)(3)(B)).
The FOA will likely request the submission of project summaries by interested applicants six to eight weeks after the FOA is released, followed by DOE notification encouraging or discouraging submission of full applications approximately four weeks later. For the initial FOA launch, DOE expects to select and fund six to ten H2Hubs.
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