Washington (April 13, 2023) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) joined Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in sending a letter, led by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), to Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm urging the Department of Energy (DOE) to enact guardrails to ensure that the billions of dollars of investments from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) will be used to promote truly low-carbon hydrogen energy options that are climate safe. 

“In order for hydrogen to benefit the climate, it must be produced from electrolyzers powered by clean, renewable energy, and that renewable energy must be additive to the clean energy transition already underway,” the senators wrote to Secretary Granholm. “Perhaps as important as the production method, however, is the end use of the hydrogen. Hydrogen could be an important solution for hard to decarbonize sectors, like heavy industry and aviation, but if federal subsidies instead divert it to uses where cleaner and more efficient alternatives already exist, like light-duty cars and trucks or home heating, then the hydrogen economy will actually take us in the wrong direction.”  

In the senators’ letter to Secretary Granholm, the senators stress the importance of hydrogen hubs meeting the Clean Hydrogen Production Standard (CHPS), which sets an initial target for lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of hydrogen production. Draft guidance from the DOE states the Department can select projects under the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs Program and the Clean Hydrogen Research and Development Program that do not meet the CHPS so long as it is determined that the projects “demonstrably aid the achievement” of the CHPS. The senators’ letter notes that there “must be a robust accounting system to verify the lifecycle GHG emissions of hydrogen production and ensure that IIJA program funds are awarded to entities who are truly producing low-carbon hydrogen.”?Finally, the letter pushes for more transparency in the hub project selection and awarding process and to ensure that the DOE considers applications for clean hydrogen when determining which hubs should move forward. 

“We must not invest billions of dollars into fossil hydrogen infrastructure, reliance on which will prevent us from reaching our zero-carbon goals,” the letter to Secretary Granholm concludes. “We will need to shift to zero-carbon hydrogen to combat climate chaos. It would be a wasted opportunity, not to mention a waste of billions of dollars, to invest in fossil hydrogen infrastructure that will need to be obsolete in the near future.” 

Full the letter can be found here.