Southern California Gas Co., the largest gas utility in the U.S., has announced a massive plan to deliver green hydrogen into the Los Angeles area from parts of the state that have abundant renewable energy resources.
The Angeles Link would deliver green hydrogen equivalent to a quarter of the natural gas SoCalGas delivers today, replacing up to 3 million gallons of diesel per day in the region’s trucking industry and convert up to four natural gas power plants to hydrogen.
SoCalGas has a target of 2045 to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions in its operations by 2045, a goal it expects to achieve by supplying its 22 million customers with green hydrogen and gas produced from organic waste.
Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen with electrolysers powered with renewable energy. It produces no greenhouse gas emissions and allows for the decarbonisation of heavy industry as well as being a solution for transport, home heating and cooking, and energy storage.
Green hydrogen’s only drawback today is its relatively high price compared with so-called grey hydrogen produced in the traditional manner from fossil fuels, usually natural gas. While the price of green hydrogen is expected to reach parity with grey before the end of the decade, it will be achieved more quickly with larger-scale projects.
“Economies of scale are important to bring down the cost of the delivered hydrogen,” Neil Navin, vice president of clean energy innovations at SoCalGas, told Reuters. “That’s the importance we see in our project. Delivering hydrogen at scale will help to reduce that cost.”
In California, an initiative of the Green Hydrogen Coalition called HyDeal Los Angeles aims to make green hydrogen cost competitive with traditional fuels and achieve a price of $1.50/kg by 2030. A separate organisation, the Green Hydrogen Catapult, is working to the lower the cost of the clean fuel below $2/kg.
SoCalGas first launched a power-to-gas hydrogen demonstration project in 2015 and currently has 10 hydrogen pilot projects in development. It has also demonstrated a hydrogen home microgrid and is testing moving hydrogen through existing natural gas infrastructure.
The sunshine state is also a leader in hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. It has more than 50 retail refuelling sites, 11 under construction, and a further 30 awaiting permitting with 11 more proposed. The rest of North America only has about 25.
California also announced earlier this month plans to double its hydrogen fuel cell bus fleet, which has already covered more than 5.5 million miles.
The largest U.S. state is also angling for a share of a proposed $8 billion the U.S. Department of Energy is looking to deploy to create regional clean hydrogen hubs.
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