Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub Releases Concept Paper

The paper outlines several projects to facilitate the production, distribution, storage, and use of clean hydrogen while pursuing environmental justice and workforce development goals in the four-state region

Cheyenne – Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022 – The Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub (WISHH) released on Tuesday a public version of a concept paper it submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs program. The concept paper outlines the four-state coalition’s preliminary Hydrogen Hub concept. Since February 2022, this bipartisan, interstate coalition between Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Utah has been developing a regional strategy for the safe, clean and sustainable use of hydrogen. This strategy will help to meet the region’s diverse energy needs and policy goals, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, using a broad range of feedstock to develop hydrogen, ensuring economic competitiveness, and supporting communities on the front lines of the energy transition.

Through the Wyoming Energy Authority, WISHH is contracting with Atkins Nuclear Solutions (Atkins) to serve as the Prime Contractor for the hub. WISHH, Atkins, utilities, and industry partners drafted this concept paper as an initial phase of work in preparation for the coalition’s full application to DOE, due in early 2023.

Atkins laid out an initial framework for the western hydrogen economy, highlighting that the Mountain West is strategically situated between east and west coast hydrogen markets and has immense renewable energy and blue hydrogen capabilities. WISHH is well-positioned to build and scale clean hydrogen production, distribution, storage, and use while advancing Justice40 and Energy Equity and Environmental Justice goals and creating job opportunities throughout the four-state region in the coming decades. As the market for clean hydrogen in the region matures, the investments proposed will create backbone infrastructure to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from end-users where hydrogen may be the most cost-effective fuel, including uses for heavy-duty vehicles and industrial facilities. The full application to DOE will build off of this initial framework with input from additional stakeholders, companies, and partners.

“As Colorado and other western mountain states diversify their energy economies with renewable sources, clean hydrogen will play an important role in grid resilience while helping achieve Governor Polis’ goal of 100% renewable electricity generation in Colorado by 2040,” said Colorado Energy Office Executive Director Will Toor. “Colorado is proud of the work WISHH is doing. We look forward to collaborating with partners across the four-state region and companies around the world to continue developing our approach to this work and create a sustainable, equitable clean energy future for all.”

“The concept paper exemplifies what the four states can accomplish by working together and respecting the energy and economic goals of each.  States, like Wyoming, can provide hydrogen from multiple feedstocks and deliver hydrogen to a variety of markets,” said Wyoming Energy Authority Executive Director Dr. Glen Murrell. “The concept paper is a great achievement, but there is much work left to be done as we continue to work with industry, communities and partners to develop a winning regional strategy.”

“The WISHH group will help spearhead the efforts of advancing Hydrogen in the state and the region as a whole, building off one another’s strengths to overcome the hurdles associated with pioneering this developing technology,” said Greg Todd, energy advisor for Governor Spencer Cox. “With Utah’s resources and ability to attract top talent, hydrogen has a real chance of becoming part of the fuel mix of our future.”

“New Mexico and our western state partners are building sustainable clean hydrogen markets that will further economic growth, justly transition our workforce, and continue to reduce climate change emissions,” said Maddy Hayden, Acting Communications Director for Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham. “We are proud of our bipartisan collaboration with Colorado, Utah and Wyoming in pursuit of federal hydrogen hub funding to further our clean hydrogen efforts.”

The concept paper proposes several projects which form the basis of a larger hydrogen ecosystem that will initiate the production and use of clean hydrogen in the West, including utility hydrogen production, agricultural use, electricity generation, and transportation applications. In addition to building infrastructure and developing technology for the production, distribution, storage, and use of clean hydrogen, WISHH will also meet the goals required by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, including creating jobs and advancing environmental justice goals through long-term partnerships with historically underserved communities. Input from a diverse group of experts, such as tribal leaders, impacted community members, water providers, and industry representatives, will ensure that WISHH’s final proposal to DOE addresses environmental justice concerns and prioritizes benefits in disproportionately impacted communities.

WISHH released a public version of the concept paper to ensure transparency as the regional hydrogen economy develops, recognizing that the best ideas will come from WISHH’s stakeholder and community engagement processes outlined in the concept paper. The only information redacted from the published paper is confidential business information that would compromise WISHH’s competitiveness against other national hubs if it were released.

Visit our page about Wyoming’s current hydrogen initiatives for more information about the Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub.

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