Right now, no one agency is tasked with regulating pipelines and other hydrogen infrastructure. Experts say that could pose a problem after the nascent technology turns into big business.
A major legislative overhaul of infrastructure-permitting rules is now on ice after the chief architect of the deal, Sen. Joe Manchin, failed to amass enough votes to stick it on the stopgap funding bill moving through the Senate.
That language could clarify federal regulation of hydrogen and give developers more certainty that their projects will ultimately operate.
“There is uncertainty around hydrogen from a regulatory standpoint, not from a science or engineering standpoint,” Zane Rhodes, president of Newpoint Gas, told National Journal. “Anyone who wants to put in a hydrogen pipeline needs to know under what regulatory framework it can be licensed.”
On Wednesday, Newpoint Gas announced the formation of a new business venture, Trillium H2 Power, that will produce hydrogen to power its ammonia and silicon production at a former Energy Department facility near Columbus, Ohio. Rhodes expects the new venture to produce several thousand construction jobs and at least 250 long-term positions.
Some power-sector representatives are also backing the hydrogen-permitting language in the Manchin bill.
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers are preparing to depart Washington after passing the stopgap funding measure. And despite the failure to move permitting reform this week, members on both sides of the aisle are aiming to negotiate a new permitting bill to tack onto another must-pass bill this year.