Think Out Loud

Billions in federal dollars could make the Pacific Northwest a hub for renewable hydrogen

By Sheraz Sadiq (OPB)
Jan. 20, 2023 4:38 p.m.

Broadcast: Friday, January 20

The U.S. Department of Energy is offering $8 billion in funding to create a network of six to 10 sites across the nation to develop and commercialize hydrogen made from renewable energy such as wind and solar. Hydrogen can be used as a fuel, to generate electricity, or for industrial applications — including making fertilizer and refining petroleum. Most hydrogen today is produced using natural gas, a fossil fuel which is accelerating climate change.

Lake Oswego-based Obsidian Renewables is one of the energy companies applying for funding from the Department of Energy’s regional clean hydrogen hubs program. It wants to build a pipeline connecting two facilities located in Hermiston and Moses Lake, Washington, to generate hydrogen primarily from wind and solar power.


The Pacific Northwest Hydrogen Association, a public-private partnership that includes the Washington Department of Commerce and the Oregon Department of Energy, is also competing for federal dollars to spur investment in clean hydrogen projects. The details of its proposal have not been made public, but the association claims it could create tens of thousands of jobs to supply the aviation, agriculture and other industries with green hydrogen.

Joining us are Ken Dragoon, the director of hydrogen development at Obsidian Renewables, and Rebecca Smith, a senior energy policy analyst at the Oregon Department of Energy.

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