WASHINGTON–– Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) President and CEO Dr. Arshad Mansoor told energy regulators this month that the moment is here for hydrogen to take its place along the path toward economy-wide decarbonization.
In remarks to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Winter Policy Summit, Mansoor said, “We’ve been talking about [hydrogen] for a long time. It’s always 10 years away. Even 50 years ago, it was 10 years away.”
But now, the media, investors and policymakers are paying more attention to the virtues of hydrogen and its ability to decarbonize the industrial and transportation sectors and “to electrify hard-to-electrify sectors by creating an alternate molecule,” Mansoor said.
Mansoor spoke on a panel moderated by NARUC President and Idaho PUC Commissioner Paul Kjellander.
Kjellander moderated the discussion focused on the near-term future of hydrogen and its opportunities to drive the U.S. and global energy transitions.
Other panelists included: celebrated host and executive producer of PBS’s White House Chronicle, Llewellyn King; Dr. Laura Nelson, vice president of Strategen and executive director of the Green Hydrogen Coalition; and Matt Valle, vice president of development at Florida Power & Light.
Panelists acknowledged the need to separate the zeitgeist from reality. They all expressed optimism for hydrogen’s staying power, citing the molecule’s multi-sectoral applicability and decarbonizing potential.
“We are in the midst of this rapidly evolving energy system,” said Nelson, “and we’re seeing increased deployment of renewable energy resources along with lithium-ion batteries.” Noting the limitations of lithium-ion batteries, Nelson continued, “but when you’re looking at how we’re going to achieve seasonally or multi-day or monthly shifting of energy…we’re really going to need to continue to grow our long-duration energy storage portfolio, and green hydrogen can be an important part of that.”
Valle echoed Mansoor’s sentiments that hydrogen is having a moment and is here to stay, sharing that “we [the U.S. electric sector] get excited about it because lots of modeling has been done on renewables plus storage over time and how do you get closer to a zero-carbon system. But where we all run into issues is longer duration storage. And batteries are just not cost-effective…so we see it [hydrogen] as the last 10-20% of what it’s going to take to get to zero-carbon.”
Mansoor and his co-panelists were careful to manage expectations. “It seems like a silver bullet, but it may not be,” cautioned Valle. Mansoor pointed to the challenges of cost-effective production of blue and especially green hydrogen, as well as inadequate transportation and delivery infrastructure.
“And this is where the global community has come in,” added Mansoor. “We formed a five-year research [Low-Carbon Resources] initiative last quarter and in just three months 35 global energy companies and manufacturers have together committed $100 million in research funding to advance these technologies, to explain and understand the engineering so that this time it’s not just another fad and actually realize the opportunities that hydrogen provides for a deep decarbonized future.”
The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI, www.epri.com) conducts research and development relating to the generation, delivery and use of electricity for the benefit of the public. An independent, nonprofit organization, EPRI brings together its scientists and engineers as well as experts from academia and industry to help address challenges in electricity, including reliability, efficiency, health, safety and the environment. EPRI’s members represent more than 90 percent of the electricity generated and delivered in the United States, and international participation extends to 40 countries. EPRI’s principal offices and laboratories are in Palo Alto, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Lenox, Mass.
SOURCE Electric Power Research Institute