You are here

hydrogen

Responding to Green Colonialism Voices from Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East

The Green New Deal: From Below or from Above?

Big Oil’s Hydrogen Hustle Exposed

By staff - Sunflower Alliance, March 27, 2024

The federal government is providing big bucks to projects that produce hydrogen as a “climate solution.” Most hydrogen produced today is fueled by fossil gas (methane) — so not really a solution at all.

Climate advocates have been advocating for “guardrails” on the program to make sure the hydrogen projects that receive federal money are really produced by new renewable energy.

But this report from Friends of the Earth reveals ways that Big Oil and other polluters are scheming to make the federal rules as lax as possible. They’re campaigning to add loopholes to the guardrails.

Under pressure from environmental groups, the Biden administration drafted guidelines for the federal subsidies that said qualifying hydrogen projects had to meet the requirements of the three guardrails. They had to be:

  • powered by renewable capacity built within three years of the hydrogen facility (additionality/incrementality)
  • connected to the same regional grid as the hydrogen production
    (regionality/deliverability)
  • able to match renewable energy usage on an hourly basis with hydrogen production, albeit starting in 2028 (time-matching).

Fossil interests are calling for the three guardrails to be removed, weakened to the point of irrelevance, or failing that, waived for ‘first mover’ projects. They’re hoping to grab federal money intended for green energy,

Download a copy of this publication here (PDF).

Winning Fossil Fuel Workers Over to a Just Transition

By Norman Rogers - Jacobin, March 18, 2024

This article is adapted from Power Lines: Building a Labor-Climate Justice Movement, edited by Jeff Ordower and Lindsay Zafir (The New Press, 2024).

I have a dream. I have a nightmare.

The dream is that working people find careers with good pay, good benefits, and a platform for addressing grievances with their employers. In other words, I dream that everyone gets what I got over twenty-plus years as a unionized worker in the oil industry.

The nightmare is that people who had jobs with good pay and power in the workplace watch those gains erode as the oil industry follows the lead of steel, auto, and coal mining to close plants and lay off workers. It is a nightmare rooted in witnessing the cruelties suffered by our siblings in these industries — all of whom had good-paying jobs with benefits and the apparatus to process grievances when their jobs went away.

Workers, their families, and their communities were destroyed when the manufacturing plants and coal mines shut down, with effects that linger to this day. Without worker input, I fear that communities dependent on the fossil fuel industry face a similar fate.

This nightmare is becoming a reality as refineries in Wyoming, Texas, Louisiana, California, and New Mexico have closed or have announced pending closures. Some facilities are doing the environmentally conscious thing and moving to renewable fuels. Laudable as that transition is, a much smaller workforce is needed for these processes. For many oil workers, the choice is to keep working, emissions be damned, or to save the planet and starve.

United Steelworkers (USW) Local 675 — a four-thousand-member local in Southern California, of which I am the second vice president — is helping to chart a different course, one in which our rank-and-file membership embraces a just transition and in which we take the urgent steps needed to protect both workers and the planet. Along with other California USW locals, we are fighting to ensure that the dream — not the nightmare — is the future for fossil fuel workers as we transition to renewable energy.

Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, Shouts Down Pennsylvania Gov. Shapiro Over a Proposed ‘Hydrogen Hub’

By Kiley Bense - Inside Climate News, March 12, 2024

Activists want more public participation in a proposal to produce hydrogen in southeastern Pennsylvania. Touted by the Biden administration as “crucial” to the nation’s climate goals, advocates fear the federally-funded project will create more pollution and further burden environmental justice communities.

Protestors disrupted a public meeting on Monday about a federally-funded “hydrogen hub” to be located in southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware that would produce, transport and store the controversial fuel at sites across the region.

While the Biden administration considers these hubs a key part of its climate agenda that would decarbonize greenhouse-gas intensive sectors of the economy like heavy industry and trucking, climate activists consider hydrogen a false solution based on unproven technology that will only lead to more fossil fuel extraction and further pollute the environment.

Minutes after Governor Josh Shapiro took the stage at a union hall in northeast Philadelphia to speak in support of the project, which will be funded with $750 million from the Department of Energy as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Delaware Riverkeeper, Maya van Rossum, stood up from her seat and demanded his attention.

“The Department of Energy said that community engagement is supposed to be a highest priority. You have yet to have a meeting with the impacted community members to hear what they have to say,” she shouted, interrupting Shapiro as he was speaking about the buy-in for hydrogen hubs at all levels of government in Pennsylvania. “When are you going to have a meeting with those community members?” she asked.

Press Release: Unions call for accountability in HyVelocity negotiations with Department of Energy

By Veronica Serrano - Texas Climate Jobs, January 24, 2024

Austin, Texas – Today the Texas AFL-CIO, a state federation of labor unions representing more than 240,000 members in Texas, passed a resolution on the HyVelocity Hub at the 2024 COPE Convention. The resolution urges HyVelocity “to immediately resolve its differences with Texas labor organizations by committing to binding community workforce agreements and labor peace agreements to ensure a just transition for unionized fossil fuel workers impacted by the transition to clean hydrogen” and “urges the Department of Energy, and all Texas policymakers to hold HyVelocity accountable to union concerns.”

Additional information: Texas Unions, Community, and Climate Groups Release Statement on HyVelocity Hydrogen Hub

Additional Information: Texas Climate Jobs Project statement on DOE’s HyVelocity’s decision 

Additional information: Texas Climate Jobs Project files HyVelocity public information requests

DOE’s Regional Hydrogen Hubs: Climate Solution, or Climate Disaster?

Labor unions are still giving Democrats climate headaches

By Alex Nieves - Politico, December 4, 2023

One of California’s most powerful unions is not loosening its grip on oil jobs.

Despite the Biden administration and California lawmakers pouring billions of dollars into new climate-friendly industries like electric vehicles, hydrogen and building electrification, a key player in state politics is still defending fossil fuel interests that provide thousands of well-paying jobs.

President Joe Biden’s investment in clean energy sectors through a pair of massive spending bills — which promise lucrative tax credits for projects that pay union wages — was supposed to speed up the labor transition away from oil and gas. That hasn’t happened in deep-blue California, home to the country’s most ambitious climate policies — and most influential labor unions.

“We believe we’re still going to be working in the oil and gas space for the foreseeable future,” said Chris Hannan, president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, which represents nearly 500,000 members across dozens of local unions, from pipefitting to electrical work.

Unions’ longstanding — and well-founded — distrust of the renewable energy industry as a reliable source of labor-friendly jobs is slowing the “just transition” that Biden, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Democratic leaders around the country have pushed.

With federal officials trying to get clean energy funding out as fast as possible ahead of the 2024 election, and California politicians cracking down on the fossil fuel industry, unions’ reluctance to relinquish fossil fuel jobs undermines Democrats’ aggressive climate targets, according to a lawmaker who serves both a union- and oil-rich area of the state.

While the union embrace of fossil fuels is unique to California — one of the few blue states with significant oil production — the struggle highlights a larger question over how states can quickly build massive amounts of clean energy infrastructure without undercutting labor.

Pennsylvania Senate Hydrogen Hub Testimony Illuminates Cost, Viability Concerns; Risk of Wasted Taxpayer Dollars

By staff - Ohio River Valley Institute, December 4, 2023

Financial and regulatory support for the gas-based ARCH2 Appalachian Hydrogen Hub risks reduced economic growth, fewer jobs, and higher utility bills, taxes, and prices for Pennsylvanians, according to testimony delivered today at the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee’s hearing on hydrogen infrastructure by Ohio River Valley Institute Senior Researcher Sean O’Leary.

Hydrogen and companion carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology are exorbitantly expensive and relatively ineffective means of decarbonization, research shows, and undue state support for their development may result in stranded assets, wasted public funds, and minimal economic and job growth.

“For these reasons, the greatest risk facing you as Pennsylvania policymakers isn’t that you may provide too little support for the state’s hydrogen hubs but rather that you may provide too much,” O’Leary explained to the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Policy Committee. “That is why we at the Ohio River Valley Institute hope members of this committee will help temper financial and regulatory support for the hubs to reflect their actual value and costs. We hope that members will work to ensure that state assistance is limited to the small number of projects and specific applications in which hydrogen is either the most cost-effective or only means of decarbonization. And we hope that, when hydrogen is used, it will be hydrogen made from water and not natural gas, which is both polluting and economically counterproductive.”

The Clean Energy Pathway for Southwestern Pennsylvania describes how concerted investment in energy efficiency and distributed renewable generation in the ten counties surrounding Pittsburgh would cut power sector carbon emissions by 92% by 2035, all at a total cost 13% less than decarbonization models reliant on natural gas and carbon capture. The Clean Energy Pathway would additionally support the creation of 12,416 jobs and yield annual environmental and health benefits of more than $2.5 billion by 2035 via efficiency expenditures and residential bill savings.

Download Testimony Here.

Hydrogen: Hype, hope, or hard work?

By Tony Wood, Alison Reeve, and Richard Yan - Grattan Institute, December 2023

Pages

The Fine Print I:

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) unless otherwise indicated and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s, nor should it be assumed that any of these authors automatically support the IWW or endorse any of its positions.

Further: the inclusion of a link on our site (other than the link to the main IWW site) does not imply endorsement by or an alliance with the IWW. These sites have been chosen by our members due to their perceived relevance to the IWW EUC and are included here for informational purposes only. If you have any suggestions or comments on any of the links included (or not included) above, please contact us.

The Fine Print II:

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc.

It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.