Federal funds could bring clean hydrogen energy and jobs to Pacific Northwest

Billions of dollars could soon fund a clean energy revolution in Washington and across the Pacific Northwest — and bring jobs with it.

A group dubbed Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association — a multistate coalition featuring public and private groups — is looking for funds from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop clean hydrogen energy.

This is a move supported by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. PNW Hydrogen wants a network of clean, renewable hydrogen suppliers in our region. It also wants a piece of billions of dollars in federal funds so it can create an energy infrastructure and potentially bring thousands of clean energy jobs to our region.

There could be infrastructure built around hydrogen power or fuel generation power plants and storage and shipping facilities. The group has been working on this since last year and wants a network of energy suppliers that could ultimately serve sectors such as heavy-duty transportation, aviation, maritime, agriculture, and industrial operations.

Chris Green is the board chair for the association. He said the infrastructure would be partially funded by the federal government.

“We will certainly need electrolyzers to make electrolytic green hydrogen. You’ll see those kinds of equipment installed in various places. We need to store hydrogen, and it’s not the most difficult thing in the world to store H, but you do need some specialized equipment to store it. And of course, you’ve got to move it and you’ve got to use it,” said Green.

PNW Hydrogen is competing against other groups across the country for a cut of the money from the Energy Department, and if they win, they’ll get $1.25 billion toward the effort. But Green said companies are poised to at least match that amount or go beyond it.

He also said that Washington state’s commitment to green energy could swing a decision from the federal government in PNW Hydrogen’s favor.

The DOE is expected to make some funding decisions by the end of this year, with final decisions announced later in 2024.

Chris Green said if the projects begin, we could see hiring for everything from energy scientists to construction workers and pipe fitters to shipping if hydrogen energy comes online.

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