As part of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2022, Congress authorized a historic federal investment of $8 billion over the next five years to develop clean hydrogen hubs in different regions of the United States. The new Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs) program, which will be administered by the Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstration and Deployment, aims to jumpstart innovation in an industry that could play a vital role in achieving domestic and international climate goals over the next several decades. Clean hydrogen is a leading candidate to address hard-to-decarbonize energy end uses in transportation and industry; it can also help assure grid stability in a net-zero emissions future by providing a means to store energy from intermittent renewable resources such as wind and solar. Clustering projects in regional hubs will facilitate connections between hydrogen producers and users, enabling them to take advantage of connective infrastructure and creating the economies of scale needed to lower the risk of investment in clean hydrogen solutions.
The release of the first H2Hubs program funding opportunity announcement in September 2022 represents a significant first step toward implementing this critical new program. However, important program design and implementation decisions still lie ahead. This report offers specific recommendations for the Department of Energy to maximize clean hydrogen innovation and the program’s chances of success in achieving its objectives. The American Energy Innovation Council’s recommendations for program implementation are summarized below; the full report provides additional detail for each recommendation, together with more background and context about the need for investment in clean hydrogen and the role of regional clusters in accelerating clean hydrogen innovation.