DOE Clean Hydrogen Initiative; WA State Modular Energy Reactors



On June 7, 2021, US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm launched the United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Earthshot initiative, which calls “everyone to innovate, collaborate and accelerate our clean energy economy.” The Energy Earthshots initiative will seek to address the technological and financial challenges to meet the Biden administration’s zero carbon goal by 2050 and coordinate these efforts between the DOE’s science and applied energy offices. , and the Agency for Advanced Research Projects-Energy.

The Hydrogen Shot is the first project of the Energy Earthshots Initiative. The Hydrogen Shot seeks to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen from $ 5 per kilogram to $ 1 per kilogram over 10 years. The Hydrogen Shot also sets a framework for the deployment of clean hydrogen. Secretary Granholm called clean hydrogen a “game changer” that “will help decarbonize heavily polluting industrial and heavy sectors while creating well-paying clean energy jobs.”

As part of the launch, the DOE released a Information request for public input in support of Hydrogen Shot. The information gathered will help the DOE define the scope and priorities of the initiative and determine viable hydrogen demonstrations, including specific locations that can help reduce the cost of hydrogen, reduce carbon emissions. and local air pollution, creating well-paying jobs and providing benefits to disadvantaged communities. Responses are expected on July 7, 2021 by 5 p.m. EST.


In April, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a division of the DOE, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology posted a report concluding that Washington is uniquely positioned to be one of the early adopters of small modular nuclear reactor technology and that small modular reactors could help fill the state’s short-term power shortage. Washington, like many other states, has demanded that its energy sources produce electricity without emitting greenhouse gases by a fixed date. In Washington’s case, that deadline is 2045. To achieve this goal, Washington is phasing out production of coal and natural gas, which currently provide about 17% of Washington’s energy production. This phasing out could lead to a shortage of power source.

The report details how advanced small nuclear reactors could fill this energy gap and meet the dynamic demand for electricity in the Pacific Northwest. The report notes that Washington is uniquely positioned to embrace the new technology as it already has a trained workforce, infrastructure, and site locations that could be transferred to small modular reactor production facilities. Specifically, the report assesses the viability of deploying the reactors at three locations: the Hanford site, using the infrastructure of three of the Northwest Energypartially completed power plants; the Centralia Big Hanaford Power Plant; and at the Idaho National Laboratory site.

Small modular reactors are an innovative and carbon neutral form of nuclear power generation. The main advantage of small nuclear reactors is that the components can be manufactured and assembled off-site, then shipped and installed on-site, resulting in significant cost savings. Small advanced modular reactors are also flexible and can operate continuously at full power to provide reliable baseload power or can keep up with power fluctuations on the grid. In addition, the report notes that with increased subsidies for clean energy and penalties for carbon-emitting resources in place in many states, small modular reactors are well positioned to provide electricity to a household. competitive price in the future.


On June 8, the Business Network for Offshore Wind published its Offshore Wind Policy Note: The US Opportunity in Floating Offshore Wind report. The report provides an overview of current floating offshore wind policies and offers recommendations for states considering offshore wind development. The floating offshore wind farm offers developers the ability to locate resources in water depths greater than 60 meters. With over 58% of U.S. offshore wind potential found in deep water areas, floating offshore wind resources may accelerate the large-scale deployment of offshore wind facilities in light of the Biden administration’s call for 30 gigawatts offshore wind power by 2030.

The paper identifies five main regions for floating offshore wind opportunities, including: (1) the west coast (including California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii); (2) the east coast (including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina); (3) the Gulf of Maine; (4) the Gulf of Mexico; and (5) the Great Lakes.

The paper concludes by noting that offshore wind is heavily stimulated by the leadership of the state government. To achieve their goals, states should adopt technology-specific procurement mechanisms as soon as possible. The document also recommends that state governments focus on reallocating existing infrastructure, such as offshore oil and gas facilities, by stimulating the growth of existing local businesses to be ready for supply chain opportunities. and stimulating the commercialization of floating wind technology.


On May 26, the Senate Finance Committee passed the Clean Energy for America Act (CEAA). For clean energy projects commissioned after December 31, 2022, CEAA would make the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) technologically neutral, and eligibility would depend on whether the facility’s carbon emissions are zero or less for electricity. Taxpayers would have the option of choosing either PTC or ITC, and the credits would be converted into refundable credits for taxpayers who notify the Treasury Department of their choice before putting the facility into service. CEAA would extend the availability of the full ITC to stand-alone energy storage, transmission investments over 275 kilovolts, and micro-grids. Facilities located in disadvantaged communities would be eligible for an ITC of 40%. PTC and ITC would increase by 10% for nascent technologies or facilities that use domestically produced materials. For installations greater than 1 megawatt, all labor must be at prevailing wage rates. The credits would be phased out once the power sector reduced carbon emissions by 75% from current levels over a five-year period.

For purchases of electric vehicles, CEAA would remove the per manufacturer cap of 200,000 vehicles sold and impose a new phase-out that would begin once 50% of all vehicles sold are electric. The incentive would also be converted into a refundable credit. For vehicles purchased after December 31, 2021, the amount of the incentive would increase from a maximum of $ 7,500 per vehicle to an additional $ 2,500 if the vehicle is manufactured in the country or if the manufacturer uses manual labor. union work, for a total possible credit of $ 12,500. The CEAA would impose a new price cap on eligible vehicles of $ 80,000. Commercial operators would receive a 30% non-refundable credit for the purchase of electric vehicles.

The CEAA would also prospectively eliminate credits available for enhanced oil recovery projects and other tax incentives available for fossil fuel activities. Other provisions of the CEAA would address the energy efficiency of new and existing buildings, credits and obligations for direct carbon sequestration in the air, the production of clean fuel and clean hydrogen.


On May 25, Home Secretary Deb Haaland, Defense Secretary for Policy Colin Kahl, White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and California Governor Gavin Newsom ad an agreement between the federal government and the state of California to open up vast expanses of ocean waters off the coast of California for offshore wind development for the first time in US history.

The Home Office’s Office of Ocean Energy Management has proposed to develop a 399 square mile footprint off the central California coast, just northwest of Morro Bay. This initial plan has the potential to generate 4.6 gigawatts of clean energy, which could power up to 1.6 million homes over the next decade. The Interior Ministry has indicated that it will initiate a rental process for this area in early 2022.

The announcement is part of the Biden administration’s broader strategy to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030. It also follows the Biden administration’s approval of the first major offshore wind project in the States. -United off the coast of Massachusetts.

Co-written by Maeve C. Tibbetts, Oretha A. Manu

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