By: Gabrielle E. Thompson and William H. Holmes
On 19 May 2021, Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 333 into law, which directs the Oregon Department of Energy to study the potential for development of renewable hydrogen production and use in Oregon. The results of the study are due to the Legislature by 15 September 2022.
Under the new law, the study will evaluate the benefits, as well as any barriers, to the production and use of renewable hydrogen in Oregon. The study will utilize existing data, studies, or other publicly available materials to analyze how “renewable hydrogen may support existing renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction policies and goals in Oregon.”1
Specifically, the study will identify the total hydrogen volume currently used each year in Oregon by various industries and the potential applications of renewable hydrogen in Oregon by 2030 by sectors such as transportation, industry, electricity generation, and energy storage. The study will also include an assessment of the potential for using renewable hydrogen in conjunction with other renewable electricity generation to increase resiliency or to provide flexible loads.
Additionally, the study will look at the forecasted costs of renewable hydrogen and how those costs may affect its adoption in Oregon. Finally, the study will consider and identify any technological, policy, commercial, or economic barriers to the adoption of renewable hydrogen in Oregon.
The study represents an important first step in determining the opportunities for developing renewable hydrogen production and development in Oregon, which has adopted a Renewable Portfolio Standard that requires 50 percent of the electricity Oregonians use come from renewable sources by 2040. Renewable hydrogen is another potential source that could be used to meet those renewable energy requirements.
The bill, which was sponsored in the Senate by Senator Lee Beyer (D – Springfield), received a unanimous vote in favor by the House Energy and Environment Committee and received bipartisan support from Representative Helm (D – Washington County) and Representative Brock-Smith (R – Port Orford), who carried the bill to the House floor where it passed unanimously.
The bill was drafted by Renewable Hydrogen Alliance (RHA), a trade association based in Portland, Oregon, with more than 70 members in the United States and worldwide dedicated to the mission of using renewable electricity to create clean fuels.
1Senate Bill (SB) 333 Enrolled (2021).