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Major Southeast utilities establish hydrogen hub coalition

A newly formed coalition including major utility companies Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Louisville Gas & Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities Company (LG&E and KU), Southern Company and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), along with Battelle and others, announced today its plan to pursue federal financial support for a Southeast Hydrogen Hub. The coalition will respond to the recently announced funding opportunity from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which includes $8 billion for regional hydrogen hubs and is part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

Other members of the Southeast Hydrogen Hub coalition will include a growing list of hydrogen users from a variety of industries in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. The coalition expects its membership to grow as news of the opportunity spreads and as interest in hydrogen intensifies.

A hydrogen hub in the Southeastern U.S. is expected to bring robust economic development benefits to the region, and hydrogen is attractive as an energy resource because it has immediate potential to accelerate decarbonization in the Southeast and across all sectors of the U.S. economy – including transportation, which generates the largest share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the country.

Hydrogen also is a dispatchable energy source, meaning it can be turned on or off as needed, enabling power companies to add more intermittent renewable resources to the energy system. Hydrogen may be poised to play a major role in addressing climate change and could be essential for each coalition member to meet its stated carbon-reduction goals:

  • Dominion Energy: Achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across Scopes 1, 2 and 3 for all electric and natural gas operations by 2050.
  • Duke Energy: Achieve net-zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2050. The company has interim carbon emissions targets of at least 50% reduction from electric generation by 2030 and 80% reduction by 2040.
  • Louisville Gas and Electric Company & Kentucky Utilities Company: Along with parent company, PPL, LG&E and KU has set a goal to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, with interim reduction targets of 70% from 2010 levels by 2035 and 80% by 2040.
  • Southern Company: Achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across electric and natural gas operations by 2050.
  • TVA: Achieve 70% carbon reduction by 2030 and approximately 80% carbon reduction by 2035. Aspire to net-zero by 2050.

By working together, the coalition can focus on developing scalable, integrated projects at key locations across the entire Southeast in support of these carbon-reduction goals and encourage the broad-based development of a regional energy ecosystem that will allow members to deploy hydrogen as a decarbonization solution for customers and communities.

“Hydrogen will play an important role in our region’s clean energy transition and Dominion Energy’s path to net-zero emissions,” said Mark Webb, chief innovation officer of Dominion Energy. “From electricity and home heating to transportation and manufacturing, hydrogen will bring jobs, investment and clean energy to every sector of the Southeast U.S. economy. We’re excited to partner with all the members of the Southeast Hydrogen Hub coalition to deliver on this promise for our customers and the communities we serve.”

“Duke Energy is excited to work with our peers to explore this funding opportunity, which is vital to our industry-leading clean energy transformation for our customers and our communities,” said Swati Daji, Duke Energy senior vice president of enterprise strategy and planning. “A Southeast hydrogen hub will provide economic and workforce-development benefits that will extend well beyond the timeline for these projects. We are pleased to have Battelle’s leadership and experience on our side as we work together with the coalition to make this hub a reality.”

“LG&E and KU’s mission is to provide safe, reliable, sustainable, competitively priced energy to our customers,” said John Crockett, president of LG&E and KU. “Advancing a cleaner energy future is one of the core commitments of our sustainability strategy and we will continue to leverage our partnerships with industry, universities and national research institutions, to achieve our goals.”

“Southern Company views hydrogen as a powerful opportunity to provide an energy system that is abundant, affordable, reliable and resilient in a net-zero future,” said Chris Cummiskey, executive vice president, chief commercial officer and customer solutions officer, Southern Company. “With the nation’s leading utilities forming a solid, customer-centered foundation, the Southeast Hydrogen Hub promises to become a new catalyst for economic development and growth, while bringing broad, economywide decarbonization to the customers and communities we serve.”

“TVA is committed to our mission of service that makes life better for the people we serve,” said Dr. Joe Hoagland, vice president, TVA Innovation & Research. “As a member of the Southeast Hydrogen Hub coalition with Battelle and the Southeast’s premier energy providers, we are equipped and ready to maximize development of hydrogen as a much-needed alternative fuel. Hydrogen will be crucial for accelerating the transition to clean power so we can meet the demand for low-carbon energy throughout our region and across the country.”

“This team has a lot of strong players, and we think Battelle’s expertise and long history of operating large complex programs for the Department of Energy and other federal agencies can help uniquely position this team for success to address the critical issue of creating a clean energy future,” said Matt Vaughan, president of Battelle’s Applied Science and Technology.