In a recent call hosted by the Stop New Energy Taxes Coalition, a PA Chamber-led coalition of business advocacy groups, energy expert and Vice President of TRC Companies Denise Brinley offered insights into Pennsylvania’s role in the ongoing federal hydrogen hubs initiative.
During the briefing, Brinley outlined key aspects of the hydrogen hub program, which is part of the Biden administration’s ambitious plan to oversee an economy-wide 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The program, supported by $75 billion in federal funding, will focus on the production, storage, transportation, and utilization of hydrogen, with seven hubs having been selected across the nation.
Pennsylvania is the only U.S. state to benefit from two separate federally funded Hydrogen Hubs: the Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2) and the Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Hub (MACH2). TRC Companies operates as one of the project managers for the ARCH2 hub.
Brinley underscored the mission of the ARCH2 hub: to leverage the nation’s lowest-cost natural gas as a primary feedstock for establishing a regional hydrogen economy in the Appalachian region. The tri-state hub involves substantial investments in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, building upon the region’s historical legacy of energy production. The project is also estimated to create more than 21,000 jobs.
Another key driver in the hydrogen development landscape is the 45V hydrogen production tax credit, which Brinley identified as being separate from the federal funding stream. Offering a maximum credit of $3 per kilogram of hydrogen produced, the tax credit is designed to incentivize projects with the lowest overall lifecycle emissions of carbon dioxide. Brinley emphasized the tax credit will be a significant driver for commercial hydrogen production, independent of the federal grants awarded.
Questions from various industry representatives highlighted the significant role that hydrogen is expected to play in Pennsylvania’s energy landscape, particularly in the transportation sector.
Future applications for hydrogen fuel were discussed during the Q&A session, including its potential for use as a low-carbon fuel for long-haul trucking and logistics, utilizing hydrogen fuel cells as an alternative to relying fully on electric vehicles. However, Brinley acknowledged that fully scaling up hydrogen usage in the U.S. will likely take between 10 and 15 years to accomplish.
With its significant advantages of a reliable workforce and low natural gas costs, Pennsylvania is poised to continue playing a large role in the nation’s energy future. ARCH2’s commitment to utilizing natural gas as a feedstock and the lucrative potential of the 45V tax credit signal that the Commonwealth will be a leader in clean hydrogen production, which will contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable future, as well as creating new growth opportunities for energy employers across the state.