Thursday, February 2, 2023

INTERIM REPORT: Natural Gas Development

The Joint Committee on Natural Gas Development met this afternoon.

Andrew Robinson, the Director of Economic Development for Senator Joe Manchin opened the presentation by stating West Virginia has always been an energy community, and now we are becoming an innovative energy community. With the introduction of hydrogen fuels, the state can still produce energy, but so it in a cleaner and more economical fashion. The push for hydrogen fuel come with the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure law, which Manchin is confident WV can become a hydrogen hub.

Arria Hines, CEO of Allegheny Science & Technology stated the funding for clean hydrogen hubs is $8 billion and it could be an 8 to 12-year process. The produced Hydrogen Hub would be a regional approach to cleaner energy and provide hydrogen across the country. West Virginia has always played a major role in the energy sector. It is centered on the nation’s second-largest natural gas source and has diverse energy options. The state has proactive engagement and support from the labor division and educational institutions. It is a connected energy delivery system with world-class research institutions. This is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity.” As a hub, multiple locations for hydrogen production would be in the state and a possible training facility in the state. There is no concrete plans at the moment, as it is still in the conceptional phase. This is a new industry.

The Justice 40 program is a part of the law. It requires that 40 percent of impact benefits help disadvantaged communities. It requires a decreased energy burden and a decreased environmental burden.

Challenges to hydrogen fuels include policy framework, class 6 privacy in the state, land acquisition and mineral rights, and market expectations.

The Committee also heard from Pietro Di Zanno on the “Science of Hydrogen as a Fuel Source.”

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