Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, announced today Senate Bill 1122 to spur the use of “green hydrogen,” a clean, renewable energy source that can help California meet it’s clean energy and climate protection goals.
Unlike most other renewable energy sources, green electrolytic hydrogen can be used in multiple ways: to fuel cars, big rig trucks, and jet airplanes, produce energy storage, and power industry and the electrical grid.
“California has to dramatically slash carbon to meet our climate protection goals, and adding green hydrogen to our renewable energy portfolio has great promise,” Sen. Skinner said. “Green hydrogen can replace fossil fuels to power transportation and industry and can serve as clean storage for solar and wind energy.”
SB 1122 clarifies that the California Public Utilities Commission, Air Resources Board, and Energy Commission should consider green electrolytic hydrogen as a zero carbon-emitting resource in any plans developed to help California reach 100% zero-carbon electricity by 2045.
Green hydrogen is produced using renewably generated electricity to split water into hydrogen molecules and oxygen molecules. With this process, California’s excess solar and wind power can be converted into hydrogen and then used as fuel for passenger cars, trucks, big rigs, and jet aircraft. This is especially important for aircraft, as there are very limited non-fossil alternatives for jet fuel. Additionally, green hydrogen can be used to power factories and other portions of the state’s industrial sector. Lastly, it can be used to store solar and wind power to run power plants when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. This is especially intriguing to electric utilities, which are now experimenting with repowering existing natural gas peaker plants to operate on green hydrogen instead of gas. Late last year, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced a pilot to retrofit a natural gas plant in Utah to operate on renewable hydrogen.
SB 1122 expands on SB 100, the 2017 landmark climate change legislation authored by then-Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and co-authored by Sen. Skinner. Also known as the 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2017, SB 100 increased California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirement to 60 percent by 2030. It also created the policy of planning to meet all of the state’s retail electricity supply with a mix of RPS-eligible and zero-carbon resources by December 31, 2045, for a total of 100 percent clean energy. Under SB 1122, green hydrogen would be added to SB 100’s clean energy portfolio.
“The flexibility of green hydrogen and its potential for use across multiple energy sectors makes it an essential tool in fighting climate change,” Skinner added. “It’s time that green hydrogen gets its day in the sun.”
Sen. Nancy Skinner represents the 9th Senate District and is the Senate majority whip.