Oklahoma’s hydrogen hub bid rejected. Federal funding opportunity slips through consortium’s hands.

By: - October 16, 2023 5:29 am

A hydrogen plant in Wesseling, Germany. Hydrogen is expanding in the United States after President Joe Biden announced federal grant awards in 16 states. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images) (This image cannot be republished without a subscription to Getty.)

OKLAHOMA CITY —  Oklahoma officials remained optimistic Friday about the state’s potential to become a leader in the hydrogen industry despite a revelation that President Joe Biden had rejected a regional bid to become a hydrogen hub.

Biden instead selected seven hubs in 16 states to launch the nation’s $7 billion hydrogen hub program created under Congress’ Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Hydrogen is being pushed by the Biden administration as a clean fuel source to reduce carbon emissions.

Gov. Kevin Stitt said in a prepared statement Friday that he was disappointed by the news, but noted there are other opportunities for the fuel source to emerge in Oklahoma.

“I am confident that there are still plenty of opportunities for Oklahoma to partner with hydrogen companies and other innovative energy projects as we continue to pursue a more-of-everything approach,” he said.

Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas had partnered to form the HALO consortium and applied for $1.25 billion in federal funding in an effort to become a regional hydrogen hub.

Oklahoma Energy Secretary Ken McQueen said he and stakeholders in the consortium plan to regroup next week.

“We still believe that we’ve got some great proposals from the HALO hub projects that will still stand on their own or come close to standing on their own,” he said. “So, we’re certainly not throwing in the towel at this point.”

McQueen said he could not discuss specific projects.

He also said it will be important for the state Legislature to consider financially supporting Oklahoma’s potential in the emerging clean energy economy.

“They decide what projects they want to fund,” McQueen said of lawmakers. “We will certainly do our part to educate our legislators about the opportunities that exist with some of these hydrogen projects in Oklahoma.”

Sites selected included include the the California Hub; the Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Hub to serve Washington, northeast Oregan and portions of Montana; the Gulf Hub in Houston to possibly serve Louisiana; the Midwest Hub to serve Illinois, Indiana and southwest Michigan; the Heartland Hub to serve Minnesota, and North and South Dakota; the Appalachian Hub to serve Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia; the Mid-Atlantic Hub to serve Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

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Mindy Ragan Wood
Mindy Ragan Wood

Mindy covers the legislature for Oklahoma Voice. Her areas of focus include infrastructure, municipal government policies, and human services with an emphasis on the needs of intellectually vulnerable and physically challenged adults.