Manchin Leads Robust Discussion On Hydrogen Pipeline Regulatory Authorities, Calls For Congress To Provide Regulatory Certainty

Manchin: ‘We’ve got a lot of work to do to make our hydrogen goals a reality’

July 19, 2022

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s opening remarks, please click here.

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s questioning, please click here.

Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to examine federal regulatory authorities governing the development of interstate hydrogen pipelines, storage, import and export facilities. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Committee, highlighted the urgent need to remove regulatory uncertainties to ensure a clear and effective process for developing hydrogen infrastructure.

“We have a crisis in this country: we face huge challenges getting the energy infrastructure we absolutely need sited, permitted, and built – challenges that weaken our energy security and jeopardize our ability to meet our climate goals,” said Chairman Manchin. “My position is this: we can’t be short-sighted here. We need to look to the future and play the long game. We must get the right regulatory structure in place now, at the ground floor, that will help us accelerate hydrogen to scale in this country.”

During the hearing, Chairman Manchin questioned the witnesses about the opportunities and challenges they face in accelerating hydrogen to scale, including as it relates to pipeline infrastructure and the production process.

“I’ve heard that the type of steel we use for gas pipelines is different than what we would need for hydrogen, so is there any way to re-coat that? Is there any type of technology we have [that can be for both natural gas and hydrogen transport] … or does it have to have a whole new composition of pipeline?” asked Chairman Manchin.

“We truly believe that we can repurpose significant portions of our existing infrastructure to move hydrogen. I think that blended levels at relatively low levels, even up to 20%, we believe that most of our existing infrastructure can accommodate hydrogen… We have an opportunity to scale up a hydrogen economy with the technology that exists today in our infrastructure, and, as we do that, we will continue to expand our ability to increase the amount of hydrogen, and ultimately, we believe, get to 100% hydrogen pipelines,” said Mr. Chad Zamarin, Senior Vice President for Corporate Strategic Development, Williams.

“My concern that I have right now is that we have not invested the money that we need to invest in hydrogen,” Chairman Manchin said. “What would be the best thing we could do [in] Congress to put hydrogen on the map?”

“Not only do I think it can be put on the map for the United States, I think it can be put on the map to allow us to be exporting hydrogen. A production tax credit of $3 per kilogram for green hydrogen with a sliding scale for blue hydrogen will make us the leader around the world in renewable hydrogen production,” said Mr. Andy Marsh, President and CEO, Plug.

“Dr. Krutka, you come from Wyoming which, like West Virginia, is a very energy intensive state. Tell me how you all look at this as a transition fuel or a fuel for the future,” said Chairman Manchin.

“We work on all-of-the-above [energy solutions]. We really consider this as part of a portfolio and an opportunity to address heating and other opportunities for energy where you can’t apply carbon capture and storage and other things like that,” said Dr. Krutka, Executive Director of the School of Energy Resources, University of Wyoming.

The hearing featured witnesses from Plug, University of Wyoming, Venable LLP and Williams. To read their testimony, click here.

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.