On July 28, energy industry leaders came together to discuss the next steps for establishing West Virginia as the new home of hydrogen energy production during the WV Hydrogen Hub Coalition Industry Day.

However, according to representatives from the office of Senator Joe Manchin, construction on any potential hydrogen projects would not start until at least 2029.

The group, made up of researchers, energy administrators, elected officials, labor, and others met to address the numerous challenges that must be met to ensure West Virginia is chosen as a location for a hydrogen hub.

A hydrogen hub is a regional network consisting of the production, end-use, and connective infrastructure needed to produce, transport, store, and use hydrogen in a functional regional market.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, passed last year, includes $9.5 billion for hydrogen, including $8 billion for Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs that will jumpstart the production, transport, and use of clean hydrogen across the U.S. economy; $1 billion for a Clean Hydrogen Electrolysis Program to reduce costs of hydrogen produced from clean electricity; and $500 million for Clean Hydrogen Manufacturing and Recycling initiatives to support equipment manufacturing and strong domestic supply chains.

The federal legislation also requires one hub be located in Appalachia, as the largest natural gas producing region. However, while the bill provides an opportunity, it is not guaranteed that West Virginia will be selected.

“We’re talking about competitive funds here,” said Josh Sword, President of the West Virginia AFL-CIO. “There are other groups in Appalachia and across the country who are fighting for these funds. So, we must do everything we can to work together and showcase our state as the best option for a hydrogen hub.”

While a hydrogen hub hasn’t been secured for West Virginia, many industry leaders suggest the state as one of the top contenders, considering the abundance of natural gas resources, its history in energy production, and workforce readiness.

“Our unions have the best apprenticeship programs that produce the top workers out in the field. When it comes to any potential construction of hydrogen facilities, we’re ready to take on that task.”

For more information on the panels and items discussed at the West Virginia Hydrogen Hub Coalition Industry Day, log on to www.wvh2hub.com.

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