The world of clean energy is constantly evolving. And, for the Midwest, clean power is a way of life. The Midwest contains many of the top states for wind power and many states that are leading the charge in growing jobs in solar. Now, Midwestern states are banding together to develop another energy source: hydrogen.
Seven Midwestern states have formed a coalition to bid for federal funding to develop a clean hydrogen hub. The governors of Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Kentucky, and Ohio have formalized the partnership through a memorandum of understanding. This new partnership is dubbed the M-H2 Coalition.
The memorandum of understanding states:
“Participating States intend to form the Midwestern Hydrogen Coalition (‘M-H2 Coalition’). The M-H2 Coalition will provide a regional framework for establishing a robust clean hydrogen market, supply chain, and workforce ecosystem in the Midwest, including the potential development of one or more hydrogen hub applications. The M-H2 Coalition will further provide the foundation for cooperation to advance economic and energy security, reduce harmful emissions, improve public health, and stimulate innovation among the Participating States.”
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The participating states will coordinate all their activities having to do with hydrogen development with one another. This includes developing growth metrics, evaluating infrastructure, identifying production pathways, determining workforce needs, assessing financial options, and working to pick ‘end uses’ for hydrogen.
“Ohio has always been a leader in innovation and technology, and this partnership will be the start of a new era of energy production that will create jobs and grow our economy,” stated Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R). “This is just the beginning of our support for a clean hydrogen market, and we look forward to relationships like the one announced today developing and expanding in the Buckeye State.”
While the states will partner on all hydrogen activities, attaining funding will be a key component of the coalition. The passage of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act designated $8 billion to be set aside for clean hydrogen hubs, and it is expected that the M-H2 Coalition will submit a bid for the money. Applications for funding will open later this fall. The coalition may also seek out hydrogen production tax credits established through the Inflation Reduction Act.
Why now for hydrogen? Hydrogen is very appealing as a clean energy source because it does not release carbon emissions when used, only water. While producing hydrogen can still result in carbon emissions, innovation is making this a cleaner and cleaner fuel source. As America seeks to reduce carbon emissions, hydrogen is stepping up to the plate as a great fuel of choice.
This partnership signals a serious commitment to the future of hydrogen in the Midwest. As Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) noted, “Innovative solutions to fighting climate change require collaborative efforts.”
Kelvey Vander Hart is a native Iowan, a member of the American Conservation Coalition, and a communications specialist at Reason Foundation.