Washington State will join Oregon and Montana in receiving nearly a billion dollars of grant funding for hydrogen production, but one state senator says it would never happen without dams.

The U-S Department of Energy announced this week that the Pacific Northwest will be home to one of seven regional clean hydrogen hubs (H2Hubs) that will focus on decarbonizing the region’s heavy-duty transportation, long-duration energy storage, ports, agriculture and industrial operations.

The H2Hubs are expected to create more than 10,000 direct jobs, 8,050 in construction jobs and 350 permanent jobs.

State Senator Mark Schoesler of Ritzville says there’s an obvious reason why the Biden Administration chose this part of the country.

"It's only possible because of our clean, abundance of hydropower." Senator Schoesler said.

Senator Mark Schoessler
Senator Mark Schoessler

Senator Schoesler says Washington State's strong and reliable hydropower system provides clean, inexpensive electric power that is needed in hydrogen production.

"If we didn't have our Snake River dams, we would not have the hydro capacity to even consider this exciting technology of hydrogen as a fuel source." Senator Schoesler added.

The operation of the Ice Harbor, Little Goose, Lower Monumental, Lower Granite Dams is under scrutiny by environmentalists and some legislative and congressional leaders. They say removing the dams is the best way to create a salmon-friendly habitat.

Meantime, the H2Hubs are expected to collectively produce three million metric tons of hydrogen annually, reaching nearly a third of the 2030 U.S. production target.

The following companies have projects proposed as part of the PNWH2 Hub:

  • Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy US LLC
  • Amazon.com, Inc.
  • ALA Renewable Energy LLC
  • Atlas Agro
  • Centralia College
  • Mitsubishi Power Americas, Inc.
  • Northwest Seaport Alliance
  • NovoHydrogen Development, Inc.
  • PACCAR Inc
  • Portland General Electric Company (PGE)
  • Puget Sound Energy (PSE)
  • PUD No. 1 of Douglas County
  • Regis Solar, LLC
  • Synchronous LLC dba First Mode
  • Twin Transit
  • USA Fortescue Future Industries, Inc.
  • Williams Field Services Group, LLC
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