The development of hydrogen fueling infrastructure across the United States will need to keep pace with the projected production and deployment of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The Biden administration has made significant investments through tax incentives and grants to support the continued development of hydrogen fuel cell technologies, and the market for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is expected to expand to more than $40 billion by 2030.
FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments
The transportation sector has been identified as the single largest US source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and continues to be an area of focus in the nation’s decarbonization efforts. Due to heavy-duty vehicles contributing the second largest amount of GHG emissions in the transportation sector, there has been a continued focus on increasing the use and integration of zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles. Three recent government agency actions seek to promote and accelerate the use of heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles, including those powered by hydrogen fuel cell technologies.
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will be a key component in the nationwide effort to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The Biden administration’s US National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization, which highlighted specific decarbonization opportunities and challenges for various modes of transportation, identified hydrogen as the option with the greatest long-term opportunity for decarbonizing long-haul heavy trucks. However, adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technologies for long-haul heavy trucks is highly dependent on advancing hydrogen fuel cell technologies and expanding the hydrogen refueling infrastructure, as well as the availability of hydrogen supply, the cost of alternative types of transportation, and regulatory drivers.
The US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) on January 27, 2023, on behalf of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office that makes available $47 million to support the research, development, and demonstration of affordable hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The FOA further advances the Biden administration’s goals to achieve carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035 and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. It also supports the goals of the H2@Scale Initiative, which aims to advance affordable hydrogen production, transport, storage, and utilization, and aligns with DOE’s Hydrogen Shot, which targets affordable clean hydrogen production at $1/kg within the decade.
While no one has a crystal ball for what 2023 will hold for the energy industry, the seemingly widespread support for green technology and clean energy is expected to carry through this year. In our industry outlook, “The Trends—and Traps—That Will Shape 2023,” we highlight some of the major green energy tax credit trends.
The Biden administration released the US National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization (Blueprint) on January 10, 2023, setting forth a strategy for decarbonizing the transportation sector in order to achieve the economy-wide 2030 and 2050 emissions reduction goals.
Later this month, the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends to issue, on behalf of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) to support the research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) of affordable hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. EERE’s notice stated that the FOA will focus on key hydrogen delivery and storage technologies and durable fuel cell technologies, particularly for heavy-duty trucks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and eliminate pollution from the tailpipe.
Hydrogen will play a key role in addressing the climate crisis, supporting a transition to net zero, and achieving a sustainable clean energy future. As a versatile energy carrier and chemical feedstock, hydrogen offers many advantages and an ability to leverage renewables, nuclear, and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage. It can also be used as a fuel or feedstock for applications that do not have competitive and efficient clean alternatives.
On September 22, the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit applications for funding to establish regional clean hydrogen hubs (H2Hub) across the United States to improve clean hydrogen production, processing, delivery, storage, and end use.
Following weeks of anticipation, US Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the text of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022, his permitting reform legislation, on September 21, 2022. As part of an agreement to win Senator Manchin’s support of the Inflation Reduction Act, Democratic leadership committed to bringing energy infrastructure permitting reform to a vote this year, namely by including it in a continuing resolution (CR) to extend government funding before the end of the fiscal year on September 30.