DOE hydrogen hubs need better community engagement — report

By Christian Robles | 02/16/2024 06:57 AM EST

The EFI Foundation led by former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz released a road map for the hubs.

a city seen from above with H2 bubbles floating above

POLITICO illustration/Photos by iStock

The Department of Energy should improve its efforts to work with local communities in building proposed hydrogen hubs, according to a new report.

The analysis published by the think tank EFI Foundation — which is led by former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz — said hydrogen hub developers should create binding agreements guaranteeing specific community benefits that include “extra environmental protections.”
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With $7 billion from the bipartisan infrastructure law, DOE announced seven hubs last October that plan to make hydrogen fuel with low carbon emissions. Community engagement is considered an important part of the process because the hubs are aiming to build new hydrogen production plants that could generate pollution, as well as create jobs.


According to the EFI Foundation, DOE should update guidance for community benefits plans — which detail each hubs’ goals to protect the environment and build a workforce. The plans, which each hub was required to include with its application, should include citizen panels and other forms of community engagement, the report concluded.