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The Department of Energy has announced a new initiative to dramatically lower the costs of clean energy by 2030. The Energy Earthshots initiative intends to accelerate breakthroughs in affordable, reliable, clean energy and boost the nation’s progress toward its 2050 net-zero goal. The first “shot,” if successful, will reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80%, to just $1 per kilogram. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm says that the program requires all-hands-on-deck and that landing a bullseye with each “Earthshot” will catapult U.S. energy goals forward.
Why This Matters: As the world works toward net-zero emissions, new, innovative, and clean methods of powering our lives are in high demand. Experts say that hydrogen could become a significant competitor with other low-emission fuels in the coming years. It can be used in transportation, industry, and powering buildings, but right now, it costs about $5 per kilogram to produce. Prices are falling but not fast enough to make hydrogen feasible for mass use. That’s where Earthshots comes in. Accelerating the affordability of hydrogen power can provide the U.S. with another effective tool against climate change, and the initiative isn’t stopping there.
Never Miss a Shot:
“The Energy Earthshots are an all-hands-on-deck call for innovation, collaboration, and acceleration of our clean energy economy by tackling the toughest remaining barriers to quickly deploy emerging clean energy technologies at scale,” said Secretary Granholm. “First up: Hydrogen Shot, which sets an ambitious yet achievable cost target to accelerate innovations and spur demand of clean hydrogen. Clean hydrogen is a game-changer. It will help decarbonize high-polluting heavy-duty and industrial sectors while delivering good-paying clean energy jobs and realizing a net-zero economy by 2050.”
While hydrogen has various uses, the initiative will focus on hydrogen fuel cells that divide hydrogen molecules to produce power. These cells can be powered by water, renewables, nuclear, and fossil fuels. The DoE is now collecting information on potential emissions reductions and optimal locations for hydrogen power investment. The Request for Information (RFI) submitted by the department also includes inquiries into:
Hydrogen production, resources, and infrastructure
End users for hydrogen based on specific regions, cost, and value propositions
Greenhouse gas and other pollutant emissions reduction potential
Diversity, equity, inclusion, jobs, and environmental justice
Science and innovation needs and challenges
The RFI reflects Granholm and the Biden administration’s commitments to taking an intersectional and equitable approach to climate action. In addition to lowering the price of hydrogen, the DoE has also pledged to reduce the cost of solar power by 50% by 2030 and reduce the price of batteries for electric vehicles. “This is our generation’s Moonshot!”said Granholm at President Biden’s Earth Day Summit in April. “For too long, the climate conversation has been viewed as a zero-sum game. One of trade-offs: the climate or the economy. No longer.”
Go Deeper:Learn more about how hydrogen energy works.
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