Sierra Club Reaction to Biden Hydrogen Hubs Announcement

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Shannon Van Hoesen, shannon.vanhoesen@sierraclub.org

Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced funding awards for seven hydrogen hubs across the country this morning. President Biden is expected to share additional details during remarks in Philadelphia today, at the site of the Mid-Atlantic hub.  

The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) of 2021 included $8 billion for Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs. The Biden administration is statutorily required to fund at least four hydrogen hubs that produce different types of the fuel, at least one hub each for green, blue, and pink (powered by nuclear) hydrogen. The fuel at these hubs must also be designated for assorted end uses, among other requirements. 

Each of the hydrogen hubs announced today will have Community Benefits Plans to engage local residents around environmental and energy justice issues, and DOE must ensure communities are involved in the decision-making process.

The Sierra Club only supports the use of hydrogen made through electrolysis that is powered by renewable energy, known as “green” hydrogen, with targeted end uses in sectors that can not easily be electrified, like the steel or concrete sectors. Even green hydrogen has limited applications due to safety and cost restraints. Fossil fuel-based hydrogen, like “blue” hydrogen, is not a climate solution. Electrification is almost always a better investment to address climate change and offer consumers clean, affordable energy. 

In response to the announcement, Sierra Club Executive Director Ben Jealous released the following statement: 

“Completing the transition to a clean energy economy requires innovation and a bold vision from our elected leaders. With this first major step toward creating a hydrogen industry, the Biden administration must move with caution as it engages with communities to ensure hydrogen can be a part of our clean energy future. The fossil fuel industry is working to continue our nation’s reliance on fossil fuels by any means necessary - and hydrogen offers yet another possible inroad for Big Oil and Gas to lock in polluting and non-economic uses of gas for decades to come. Decision-makers in the administration and at the local level must be wary of these attempts and ensure as much hydrogen-specific funding as possible goes to green hydrogen and its most efficient end uses to ensure this investment actually addresses climate change.” 

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.