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The Power of Hydrogen for Utilities

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Jane Marsh's picture
Editor Environment.co

Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co. She covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, renewable energy and more.

  • Member since 2020
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  • May 19, 2022
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Government officials are creating sustainability regulations, which target greenhouse gas emissions. They target pollution from the oil and gas industry to meet decarbonization goals. Countries are using alternative fuel sources to decrease their fossil fuel reliance.

Diversifying the energy sector is essential when creating a low impact-power grid. Energy professionals are exploring hydrogen’s potential in the utility sector. Individuals may shrink their carbon footprints and utility bills when swapping fossil fuels for hydrogen.

The Clean Electric Grid

Power professionals are adopting alternative energy sources to meet the Biden-Harris administration’s infrastructure goals. The administration hopes to create a carbon-neutral power grid with low-impact supplies. The Department of Energy (DEO) established a “Build Back Better Grid” initiative to meet long-term sustainability goals.

Supporting the utility sector with hydrogen can minimize greenhouse gas emissions. The utility industry is responsible for about 1.55 billion tons of emissions annually in America. Replacing fossil fuel energy with hydrogen can significantly shrink the sector’s footprint.

The U.S. is electrifying its utility sector to increase sustainability. Producing electricity from low emission sources can reduce pollution. Utilizing hydrogen for electricity also improves utility costs.

Russia’s Impact on Utility Costs

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine significantly impacted the cost of oil and gas. Nearly 84% of the global power supply comes from fossil fuels. As oil prices increase, utility costs follow.

Many countries are breaking their deals with Russia out of solidarity with Ukraine. Developed nations source significant quantities of oil and gas from Russia, which creates abundance limitations. Oil scarcity is increasing gas and utility costs. 

Individuals can combat high energy prices with hydrogen. Researchers predict green hydrogen will drop to about $0.75 per kilogram (kg). Hydrogen can also support the utility sector by increasing power resilience.

Creating Utility Resilience

Utility companies struggle to meet consumers’ demands as the frequency and intensity of storms increase. Outages in the U.S. cause about $150 billion in economic losses each year. Utility professionals can use hydrogen as a backup power source to reduce storm-related outages.

Hydrogen is a more reliable and sustainable energy source than diesel. Professionals may use the power supply for long-term energy storage. Hydrogen can also support the electric transportation sector, which helps regions meet sustainability goals.

The Electric Transportation Sector

The transportation sector is the single largest emission-producing industry around the world. It generates about 27% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Researchers predict hydrogen power will fuel the transportation sector soon.

Environmental engineers are distributing fuel cell trucks, which produce zero tailpipe emissions. The truck’s built-in hydrogen storage features increase its range. Drivers can also power their trucks quicker than conventional versions.

Energy Storage

Hydrogen may also support the utility sector by expanding electricity storage. One challenge with the clean electric grid is production’s reliance on inconsistent weather patterns. Environmentalists expect energy professionals to produce electricity from renewable sources.

Solar and wind power have low storage capabilities. Professionals can connect renewable energy supplies to hydrogen fuel cell batteries to expand the electric grid. Using green hydrogen to store electricity improves the grid’s sustainability.

Hydrogen fuel cells work as long as energy sources are supporting them. Their longevity decreases waste in the utility sector. Green hydrogen also releases zero greenhouse gas emissions while generating electricity.

Green hydrogen comes from renewable energy supplies and powers the electrolysis of water. Many producers create green hydrogen from solar, wind and hydropower. Individuals can use the electricity source to power electric vehicles, commercial buildings, homes and other appliances.

Developing a Hydrogen Utility Sector

Regions can shrink their utility sectors’ carbon footprints by sourcing large quantities of green hydrogen. Individuals must expand renewable energy production to access emission-free hydrogen supplies. Countries can also reduce utility pollution by adopting electric appliances and other compatible resources.

Increasing the utility sector’s sustainability requires strict fossil fuel regulations. Government officials can support the clean electric grid by limiting oil and gas uses. Big oil companies may also invest in hydrogen production to adapt to the green industry changes.

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