Friday, October 13, 2023

DOE Awards Natural Gas-Based Hydrogen Hub In Western PA, Renewable/Nuclear Power-Based Hydrogen Hub In Eastern PA; Reactions

On October 13, the US Department of Energy awarded two hydrogen hub projects that include Pennsylvania-- a natural gas-based Appalachian Hub in Western PA, West Virginia and Ohio and a Mid-Atlantic Hub in eastern PA, Delaware and New Jersey based on the use of renewable and nuclear energy to make the hydrogen.

Appalachian Hydrogen Hub

The Appalachian Hydrogen Hub will leverage the region’s ample access to low-cost natural gas to produce low-cost clean hydrogen and permanently and safely store the associated carbon emissions. 

The strategic location of this Hydrogen Hub and the development of hydrogen pipelines, multiple hydrogen fueling stations, and permanent CO2 storage also have the potential to drive down the cost of hydrogen distribution and storage. 

The Appalachian Hydrogen Hub is anticipated to bring quality job opportunities to workers in coal communities and create more than 21,000 direct jobs—including more than 18,000 in construction and more than 3,000 permanent jobs, helping ensure the Appalachian community benefits from the development and operation of the Hub. (Amount: up to $925 million)

Mid-Atlantic Hub

The Mid-Atlantic Hydrogen Hub will help unlock hydrogen-driven decarbonization in the Mid-Atlantic while repurposing historic oil infrastructure and using existing rights-of-way. 

It plans to develop renewable hydrogen production facilities from renewable and nuclear electricity using both established and innovative electrolyzer technologies, where it can help reduce costs and drive further technology adoption. 

As part of its labor and workforce commitments to the community, the Mid-Atlantic Hydrogen Hub plans to negotiate Project Labor Agreements for all projects and provide close to $14 million for regional Workforce Development Boards that will serve as partners for community college training and pre-apprenticeships. 

This Hydrogen Hub anticipates creating 20,800 direct jobs—14,400 in construction jobs and 6,400 permanent jobs. (Amount: up to $750 million)

Click Here for the DOE announcementClick Here for White House announcement.


Gov. Josh Shapiro 

“Today, Pennsylvania is positioning itself as the leader of our country’s clean energy future and creating thousands of new, good-paying union jobs. 

“Since my campaign for Governor, I have been a strong supporter of this investment in our Commonwealth and my Administration has worked closely with organized labor, industry partners, and our neighboring states to make Pennsylvania the only state in the country to secure two regional clean hydrogen hubs. 

“I thank President Biden for his belief in Pennsylvania and Senators Casey and Fetterman for their leadership in securing this win for our Commonwealth.”  Read full statement.

Sen. Yaw

“Our diverse energy portfolio, robust energy sector, and extensive geological formations make us uniquely qualified to expand the nation’s hydrogen production,” said Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming), Majority Chair of the Senate Environmental Committee.  “I am delighted to see the federal government’s recognition of our vast natural resources and look forward to working cooperatively with government and businesses alike to maximize Pennsylvania’s potential in this sector.”  Read full statement.

Environmental Health Project

“Whether it’s the continued operation of fossil fuel power plants, the increased risk from new pipelines and underground storage of carbon, or locking in more toxic air and water pollution from shale gas development, the public will have to bear the significant health burden of this hydrogen hub” said Alison L. Steele, executive director of the Environmental Health Project. “The commitment to continuing these harms just weeks after the findings of the Pennsylvania health study highlights just how deeply our leaders are failing Appalachian communities.”

Clean Air Council

Joseph Otis Minott, Esq., Executive Director and Chief Counsel of Clean Air Council, issued the following statement: “Hydrogen is not the one-size-fits-all fix to our energy needs and the climate crisis, and it could actually make greenhouse gas emissions worse. 

“Hydrogen production is incredibly energy-intensive - even green hydrogen is a much less efficient way for industry to decarbonize compared to using renewable energy directly. 

“Green hydrogen may be able to play a future role in specific end-uses that cannot otherwise be electrified. These massive projects are heavy on government subsidies and greenwashing and light on details. Taxpayers deserve to know more about the proposals and potential impacts."

FracTracker Alliance

"Hydrogen produced from natural gas perpetuates our reliance on fossil fuels and locks in our dependency on an unsustainable energy system," said Shannon Smith, executive director of FracTracker Alliance. "Misrepresenting fossil-fuel derived hydrogen with carbon capture and storage technology as an effective transitional energy source fails to account for a wide array of adverse environmental and social impacts."

Center for Coalfield Justice

“Federal and state officials claim that these projects will benefit our communities yet they have failed to disclose even the most basic information we need to see for ourselves,” said Sarah Martik, director of the Center for Coalfield Justice. “Our leaders have taken every opportunity to talk about ‘environmental justice’ and ‘community benefits’ but their actions have ensured that everyday people are once again cut out of decisions that impact their lives.”

Joint Statement PA Groups

The Better Path Coalition, Berks Gas Truth, Between the Waters, Breathe Easy Susquehanna, The Climate Reality Project - Susquehanna Valley PA Chapter, Concerned Health Professionals of Pennsylvania, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Green Amendments for the Generations, Greenfire Coalition Writers' Forum, Move Past Plastic, NEPA Green Coalition, Physicians for Social Responsibility Pennsylvania, TIAA-Divest!, and Watchdogs of Southeastern PA released this statement--

“Environmental and public health advocacy groups oppose the U.S. Department of Energy’s plans to fund the development of hydrogen hubs that will include Pennsylvania.

“Currently, 95% of hydrogen produced is made from methane. It is referred to as gray hydrogen on a hydrogen rainbow that has been used to differentiate the many feedstocks and forms of production that can be used to produce hydrogen. 

“Our organizations oppose the DOE’s decision for the following reasons:

-- Methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas that should be kept in the ground, not used as a feedstock for what can only be considered to be the next generation of fossil fuel production in Pennsylvania.  

-- The continued fracking of methane necessary for hydrogen production will further endanger the health of vulnerable populations, especially Pennsylvania’s children, who are already suffering from increases in lymphoma and leukemia directly attributable to living near fracking infrastructure. 

-- Carbon capture and storage does not work. Carbon capture technology has been around for decades, used in a process called Enhanced Oil Recovery. Sequestering CO2 has never succeeded at an industrial scale and there is no evidence at all that any CO2 that is successfully captured will remain sequestered permanently.

-- Carbon capture systems are prohibitively expensive. Large-scale blue hydrogen hubs are not likely to succeed without permanent life support from taxpayers’ dollars.   

-- Carbon capture and storage’s role in blue hydrogen production distracts from the fact that it only pertains to CO2, not the more dangerous carbon, methane. Methane leaks at every step in its production, processing, transmission, and distribution. 

“Beyond the grave” emissions from hundreds of thousands of abandoned wells in the state continue to go unchecked. Every new well adds to a climate-killing legacy. Blue hydrogen means more wells, more methane leaks, more climate chaos.

-- Blue hydrogen brings with it a new generation of dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure. A CO2 pipeline explosion in Satartia, MS showed what can happen when pressurized CO2 is released into the air. People were asphyxiated as they tried to escape in cars whose engines stopped operating for lack of oxygen. Fortunately, none of the people in Satartia died, but several now face lifelong physical struggles as a result of their exposure.

-- The CO2 pipelines would deliver the gas to a new class of injection well called Class VI that would reside near unplugged or poorly plugged abandoned wells, increasing the risk of “communication” between the wells that could have catastrophic consequences.

-- Hydrogen enthusiasts are promoting adding it to methane pipelines with a Madison Avenue-style name - HyBlend pipelines. Hydrogen molecules are tiny, increasing the risk of leaking pipelines and the disasters that result. The plan is to deliver hyblend gas to homes, very possibly your home if you are a natural gas customer.

“None of this is necessary and is, in fact, a roadblock to implementation of the proven, scalable renewable energy solutions that threaten oil and gas interests that dominate our political process in Pennsylvania.

“Job creation is often used incorrectly as a justification for continued fossil fuel development and that is already some of the political rhetoric around blue hydrogen, but the fossil fuel jobs that would underpin its development have already passed their expiration date. 

“If the current administration and state legislature want to move the state forward, they will focus on creating the renewable energy jobs of the future.”


PennFuture issued this statement raising concerns about Green Hydrogen Hub Investment.

Conservation Voters Of PA

The Conservation Voters of PA released this statement on the Hydrogen Hub announcement.

Natural Resources Defense Council

              The Natural Resources Defense Council issued this statement in reaction to the hydrogen hub announcement -- Rigorous Standards, Transparency, Community Input Badly Needed For Hydrogen Hubs


-- Post-Gazette - Jonathan Salant, Anya Litvak: Southwest PA Part Of ‘Transformational’ Investment In Natural Gas-Based Hydrogen, Biden Says, As He Seeks To Wean Country Off Fossil Fuels

-- TribLive: Pittsburgh-Based Hydrogen Hub Plan Passed Over, As Hubs Selected Draw Statewide Praise

-- The Allegheny Front - Susan Phillips: In Philadelphia, Biden Promotes Federally-Funded Hydrogen Hubs As A Clean Energy Source And Job-Creator

-- PA Capital-Star: ‘So Many Ways Hydrogen Can Go Wrong:’  Hydrogen Hub Announcements Viewed With Caution

-- Post-Gazette: Appalachian Hydrogen Hub Gets Green Light, And Up To $925 Million From Feds

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: PA Will Have Two Hydrogen Hubs, Just What Will That Mean?

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: How Pittsburgh Fares In Hydrogen Hub Announcement, And It’s Not What You Think

-- Inquirer: What Is A Hydrogen Hub?  Explaining The Projects Biden Announced In Philly Friday

-- Bloomberg: Amazon, Exxon, Air Products Hydrogen Hubs To Get Slice Of $7 Billion

-- AP: White House Picks West Virginia, Philadelphia Region For Hydrogen Hubs, Source Tells AP

-- Post-Gazette - Anya Litvak: Once A Player, Shell Confirms It’s Not Part Of Any Regional Hydrogen Hub

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: Shell Withdrew From Pennsylvania’s Hydrogen Hub Proposal Over The Summer

-- AP: Biden Is Talking Green Energy, Jobs In PA Again, Will His Message Break Through?

-- Williamsport Sun: State Competing For Billions To Build Hydrogen Hubs - Will They Really Be Green?

-- Beaver County Times: Columbia Gas Testing Hydrogen-Blended Natural Gas In Center Twp.

PA Oil & Gas Industry Public Notice Dashboards:

-- Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Weekly Compliance Dashboard - October 7 to 13 - More Abandoned Conventional Wells; Spills; Venting Gas; Emergency Well Plugging  [PaEN]

-- PA Oil & Gas Industrial Facilities: Permit Notices/Opportunities To Comment - October 14 [PaEN] 

-- DEP Posted 55 Pages Of Permit-Related Notices In October 14 PA Bulletin  [PaEN]

Related Articles This Week:

-- Conventional Oil & Gas Industry Still Fighting To Make Road Dumping Its Wastewater Legal; DEP Introduces Concepts Of A ‘Life Insurance Policy’ For Plugging Wells; Certified 3rd Party Inspectors  [PaEN]

-- The Derrick: Permanent Alternate Water Supply Being Considered For Village Of Reno, Venango County After Contamination By Conventional Oil Well Wastewater Spill  [PaEN] 

-- Vice Chair Of DEP Citizens Advisory Council Asks DEP To Report On University Of Pittsburgh Study That Found At Least 800,000 Tons Of Oil & Gas Production Waste Sent To Landfills Was Unaccounted For In One Year  [PaEN]

-- DEP Reports Shale Gas Operations Sent Over 138,000 Cubic Feet Of Radioactive TENORM Waste To Low-Level Radioactive Waste Facilities For Disposal In 2022 - Over  911,000 Cubic Feet Since 2017  [PaEN]

-- DEP Invites Comments At Nov. 14 Hearing On Air Quality Permit For Energy Transfer Natural Gas Liquids Marcus Hook Terminal In An EJ Area, Delaware County  [PaEN] 

-- Better Path Coalition: Oct. 18 Webinar Launching 9th Compendium Of Scientific, Medical Findings Demonstrating Risks, Harms Of Natural Gas Development, Infrastructure  [PaEN]

-- Sierra Club's Delaware County Team Hosts Oct. 16 Webinar On Lawsuit Challenging Law Preventing DEP From Protecting Public Health, Environment From Abandoned Conventional Oil & Gas Wells  [PaEN]

-- House Committee Meets Oct. 16 On Cryptocurrency Mining Moratorium Bill; Resolution To Study Potential Of Geothermal Energy From Abandoned Mine Pools  [PaEN] 

-- PJM Interconnection Formally Files Changes To Electric Capacity Market Rules With FERC Based Largely On Unreliability Of Natural Gas-Fired Power Plants During Winter Storm Elliot  [PaEN] 

-- DOE Awards Natural Gas-Based Hydrogen Hub In Western PA, Renewable/Nuclear Power-Based Hydrogen Hub In Eastern PA; Reactions  [PaEN]

NewsClips This Week:

-- The Allegheny Front: After Fayette County’s First Oil, Gas Wastewater Injection Well Permit Was Withdrawn From EPA; Residents Worry There May Be More To Come

-- TribLive: Some Plum Boro, Allegheny County Residents, Activists Push Back Against 2nd Oil, Gas Wastewater Injection Well

-- Post-Gazette: Plum Boro, Allegheny County, Environmental Group Go To Commonwealth Court Trying To Stop New Oil, Gas Wastewater Injection Well

-- Inside Climate News: Plum Boro, Allegheny County, Environmental Group Go To Commonwealth Court Trying To Stop New Oil, Gas Wastewater Injection Well

-- Pittsburgh Business Times: Plum Boro, Allegheny County Residents Battle Penneco, Zoning Board Over Oil, Gas Wastewater Injection Well

-- Warren Times: Land-For-Shale Gas Deal Between Game Commission, PA General Energy Will Result In New State Game Land In Warren County

-- PA Physicians For Social Responsibility: MarkWest Carpenter Natural Gas Compressor Station Natural Gas Leaks In Washington County [Video]

-- Observer-Reporter: Local Couple First Natural Gas Leaseholders To Contribute To Giving Fund Account Created By EQT Natural Gas At Washington County Community Foundation  [EQT Matches Donations]  [Check EQT’s DEP Compliance Record here. ]

-- Observer-Reporter: Range Resources Welcomes 150 Female Students To Annual Power Of Her Event  [Check Range Resources DEP Compliance Record here.

-- Reading Eagle: Chocolate Company Pushes Back Against OSHA Finding Company Was Responsible For Deaths From Natural Gas Explosion

-- The Daily Item Letter: Fossil Fuels Have A History Of Being Unreliable

-- Warren Times: Gasoline Prices Fall In Region, But Not In Warren County  [In Middle Of Conventional Oil Drilling Country]

[Posted: October 13, 2023]  PA Environment Digest

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner