New York state creates plan for green hydrogen microgrids

Jan. 7, 2022
New York wants to become a “green hydrogen hub,” and it’s counting on fuel cell microgrids to help it get there, as Gov. Hochul outlined this week during the state of the state address.

Gov. Kathy Hochul wants New York to become a green hydrogen hub and is counting on fuel cell microgrids to help it get there.

The hydrogen plan is contained within New York’s 2022 State of the State book, released Jan. 5 when Hochul delivered the annual address.

“Just days after being sworn into office, we were slammed with Hurricane Ida.  I walked the flooded streets of East Elmhurst, Queens, and witnessed the aftermath of an epic collision between Mother Nature and our inferior infrastructure, with devastating consequences,” Hochul said in the state of the state address. “It was a cruel reminder that too much time has already been lost in the fight against climate change. These events are no longer rare – the next one is coming.”

Under the plan, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will develop a program to support locally owned microgrids that use green hydrogen fuel cells. The microgrids will be designed to replace backup generators that create pollution in low-income neighborhoods.

“Made from renewable energy right here in New York, green hydrogen releases zero greenhouse gas emissions when used in a fuel cell, yet it is strong enough to power a forklift, long-distance semi-truck, or even entire neighborhoods via a microgrid,” says the State of the State book.

To help pay for the program, the state intends to seek funding through the federal infrastructure act signed into law by President Joe Biden Nov. 15, 2021. The act offers $8 billion to create at least four regional green hydrogen hubs across the country, and an additional $1 billion for research, development, manufacturing and recycling. 

New York’s hydrogen hub will include New York City, Long Island, Buffalo, Central New York, Northern New York, Albany, Auburn and possibly other areas. In addition to the federal money, the state plans to bring to the effort at least $1 billion in private and public nonfederal funding.

Hochul directed NYSERDA to issue a competitive solicitation offering $27 million for green hydrogen product development, pilots and demonstrations. Funds will be released in the second quarter of 2022 with priority going to projects that leverage federal and private cost share.

The plan also calls for:

  • A framework developed by state agencies to measure emissions reductions and health benefits of green hydrogen, along with codes and standards for its safe operation.  
  • A district heating and cooling demonstration project using green hydrogen.
  • A green hydrogen prize program to encourage green hydrogen companies to expand into New York.

The green hydrogen program is one of several climate initiatives that the state outlined. Others include a series of legislative and policy actions to electrify up to 1 million homes by 2030 and a $500 million investment in offshore wind. 

In addition, Hochul has signed legislation requiring all new passenger vehicles sold in New York to be zero-emissions by 2035 and has directed state regulators to address electricity rates for fast charging installations. The state intends to invest $1 billion over several years to support electric vehicle adoption.

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About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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