HARRISBURG – Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46), President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-39), Majority Leader Joe Pittman (R-41), Sen. Devlin Robinson (R-37) and Sen. Gene Yaw (R-23) discussed what the future hydrogen economy means for jobs, energy and the environment following a recent federal decision to award funding to two hubs benefitting Pennsylvania.
The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has set a goal to produce 50 million metric tons of clean hydrogen fuel by 2050. To reach this goal, DOE announced projects selected for funding through its Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs program.
The Mid-Atlantic Clean Hydrogen Hub (MACH2) is located in Philadelphia, and the Appalachian Hydrogen Hub (ARCH2) is located in neighboring West Virginia. These projects will receive $1.7 billion in investment from the federal government and billions more in commitments from the private sector companies involved in these hubs.
“Because of our abundant natural resources and highly skilled and ready workforce, Pennsylvania is uniquely positioned to be a national leader in the development and use of hydrogen. We can make hydrogen in Pennsylvania cleaner and more cost-effective than anywhere else on earth as long as we provide regulatory certainty for companies that want to make hydrogen investments in Pennsylvania. We cannot let misinformed environmental extremists and politicians distort the truth and toss family-sustaining jobs by the wayside,” Bartolotta said.
The hubs are expected to produce thousands of family-sustaining jobs across a number of industries, many of them in the skilled building and construction trades.
“Pennsylvania’s energy resources are one of our commonwealth’s greatest assets and are a pathway to prosperity creating good-paying jobs that drive our state’s economy while also protecting our national interests,” said Ward. “With the current global energy plays taking place in the Middle East and with Russia, China and Ukraine, now is not the time to take energy options off the table. Instead, we should be investing and innovating the energy options we have right here at home in Pennsylvania. The addition of hydrogen hubs does just that and will continue to position our state as a national and global leader in energy development. We look forward to working with our partners in government, the private sector and labor to take this from a concept to reality.”
Hydrogen produces only water and heat when burned with oxygen, with no harmful pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions. Because of breakthroughs in this technology, it has become much more cost effective to convert hydrogen into electricity.
“Beyond the economic benefit we all embrace, and in which we all believe, we have to also recognize and understand the national security benefit of energy independence,” said Pittman. “Whenever it comes to national security, all we have to do is look at what’s happening right now in Eastern Europe and in the Middle East to understand the vital importance of national security.”
“The United States is the lamp of liberty for the rest of the world. Energy independence allows us to be that lamp and, frankly, we need that lamp to burn more brightly now than ever before,” Pittman continued. “The Senate Republican Caucus is committed to energy independence because we recognize energy independence is national security.”
Pennsylvania has had a long history of being a leader in industrial development in steel. Now there is an opportunity to continue producing steel and cement while utilizing production to reduce the carbon footprint.
“Western Pennsylvania has and always will play a major role in the nation’s energy industry,” Robinson said. “Although the Pittsburgh-based project was not chosen as one of the seven regional hubs, the West Virginia one was selected. There will still be thousands of western Pennsylvania skilled union workers who will benefit from ARCH2. I’m excited our state will continue to play a pivotal role in the fuel neutral future that will capitalize on our geography and talented workforce to continue our state’s legacy of energy production.”
Hydrogen energy, a rapidly growing technology, can help to provide consumers with a balanced grid that is affordable, reliable and clean.
“Pennsylvania’s diverse energy portfolio, robust energy sector and extensive geological formations make us uniquely qualified to expand the nation’s hydrogen production,” Yaw said. “I am delighted to see the federal government’s recognition of our vast natural resources and look forward to working cooperatively with government and businesses alike to maximize Pennsylvania’s potential in this sector.”