Current Pipelines And Regs Can Support Shift to Hydrogen

May 12, 2021

America’s renewable hydrogen pipeline network will soon be here. Hydrogen will be crucial to the clean energy economy, because its density and versatility make it the best hope to power critically important sectors of the economy that will be difficult to convert to renewable energy.

These sectors include aviation, maritime shipping, mining, heavy transportation, and heavy industry such as steel and concrete production. Pipelines will play a role in this hydrogen economy, because they will enable the cost-effective transportation of the clean fuel across long distances.[1]

Fortunately, another advantage of hydrogen is that much of the infrastructure and expertise needed to store and transport it is already developed in the oil and gas sector. In fact, the repurposing of America’s fossil fuel infrastructure to renewable hydrogen applications has already begun.

Recently, the City Council of Long Beach California unanimously approved a plan to convert a crude oil pipeline to carry hydrogen. And it’s not just California where hydrogen is gaining momentum. Nationally, President Joe Biden’s Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, announced last month the goal of driving the cost of renewable hydrogen down 80% within the decade, to make it competitive with natural gas.

And around the world, governments and businesses are planning to invest $300 billion in hydrogen energy through 2030.[2] These investments are concentrated in Asia, Europe and Australia — where governments have already promulgated comprehensive hydrogen energy plans.

While the U.S. does not yet have a comprehensive national hydrogen energy plan, it is fortunate enough to have an established regulatory regime to govern its nascent hydrogen pipeline network.

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