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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is joining three other states in an effort to coordinate and develop a regional hydrogen energy hub.
Gov. Spencer Cox and the leaders of Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming signed an agreement Thursday regarding the project. As a part of the agreement, the states will work together to seek a portion of $8 billion allocated in last year's Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which set out to establish at least four regional hydrogen hubs.
The hubs, as defined by the law, would develop a "technologically and economically feasible national strategy and roadmap to facilitate widescale production, processing, delivery, storage, and use of clean hydrogen."
The four states plan to propose a Western Inter-State Hydrogen Hub that will have supporting facilities in each state. The U.S. Department of Energy is expected to release a request for proposal, which the hub would apply for, this spring.
In a statement, Cox said Utah's "unique geography and innovative spirit" make it a perfect place for energy development projects such as hydrogen.
"Our natural resources and existing infrastructure, along with our talented workforce, enable us to maintain this commitment to our citizens," he said. "With Utah's resources and expertise in the development of a clean hydrogen hub, the possibility of affordable, reliable and clean hydrogen is not just a possibility, it's inevitable."
The announcement comes months after a hydrogen energy summit was held at the state Capitol.
Tammie Bostick, the executive director for Utah Clean Cities Coalition, the organization that co-hosted the October event, said Utah is already among the nation's leaders in hydrogen fuel deployment — with a handful of current and future projects across the state aimed at producing, storing and utilizing hydrogen.
Rep. Melissa Ballard, R-North Salt Lake, added at the time that Utah would become the "hydrogen hub for the crossroads of the West."
According to the Department of Energy, a hydrogen fuel cell paired with an electric motor is "two to three times more efficient" than a traditional internal combustion engine that runs on gasoline.
The Beehive State's neighbors seem equally enthused about its potential. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, for example, pointed out Thursday that his state has goals to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 50% in the next eight years, and 90% by 2050. That's why he said state leaders are excited to join a "cutting-edge regional coalition" to advance hydrogen power.
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon agrees.
"Hydrogen has tremendous potential for energizing the next generation," he said. "Our coalition represents a shared understanding and vision for the future of hydrogen in the Mountain West region. Importantly, it expands the resources beyond what each state has individually and reaffirms Wyoming's commitment to supply hydrogen to consumers throughout the Western states."