If you’re in the 49th State, you may have started hearing the buzz about the Alaska Hydrogen Working Group, a collaboration of industry experts, academics, policy makers, and government officials (like our Director, Dr. Erin Whitney), who are deeply invested in the technology and economic developments related to all things around hydrogen energy. Over 150 people have been engaged in the Working Group so far, through online and in-person events and email exchanges. 

The Alaska Hydrogen Working Group gathered in May 2023 for a tech demo and networking meeting on the margins of the Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference in Anchorage.
The Alaska Hydrogen Working Group gathered in May 2023 for a tech demo and networking meeting on the margins of the Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference in Anchorage.
Erin Whitney, DOE

“The group has been a terrific forum for exchanging ideas and updates about hydrogen projects and initiatives in the state,” said Director Erin Whitney. “I’ve sincerely appreciated the variety of perspectives across the entire range of possible feedstocks and end uses.” 

Between topics like sustainable transportation, a green shipping corridor, Iceland-Alaska knowledge sharing for economic development, and clean methanol production and engine permitting, there’s been a lot to cover. The Alaska Hydrogen Working Group started in November 2022 when it was co-founded by the Alaska Center for Energy and Power, part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Arctic Energy Office. Beyond regular meetings for knowledge-sharing with presentations from leaders in hydrogen energy, the group has also been working towards putting pen to paper on an opportunities report for the state’s hydrogen energy potential, with technical support from the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.  

This work aligns with efforts in the lower 48 states. The Biden-Harris Administration has been in the news about their work to make the U.S. a world leader in hydrogen production, with the Department of Energy planning to award as much as $7 billion this fall to build the nation’s first clean hydrogen hubs. The aim is to create a national network for hydrogen, a low-to-zero carbon energy source when using pure hydrogen or using renewable power to produce hydrogen fuel.  

EarthShots Hydrogen

The Department of Energy’s Hydrogen Shot, part of the DOE Energy Earthshots Initiative, aims to accelerate breakthroughs of an 80 percent cost reduction in hydrogen, which currently costs about $5 per kilogram on average. Cost reductions can open new markets like energy storage, steel manufacturing, and sustainable transportation, unleashing hiring and economic benefits in diverse regions of the U.S.  

Report Cover for The Alaska Standard
Released by the Office of Governor Dunleavy, The Alaska Standard is an inaugural Sustainability Report that documents the State’s history of responsible resource development.
State of Alaska

The State of Alaska is eager to lead the way. “As public and private investments increase around low or no carbon energy sources, Alaska is well-positioned to be a global leader and proving ground for renewables, new forms of power, hydrogen, carbon capture, and more,” said the State of Alaska’s Alaska Standard report, released in May 2023. Alaska has strict regulations and oversight for environmental protection throughout the state. 

As the Alaska Hydrogen Working Group works towards creating Alaska’s first Hydrogen Opportunities Report by the end of 2023, they have some key goals in mind: 

  • Identify opportunities and promote innovation and investment in the production and deployment of hydrogen to help transform the energy system. 
  • Identify economic development opportunities across the state through increased and equitable employment in trades, cleantech, and energy services. 
  • Identify scenarios aligned with state, national, and international energy and climate strategies and commitments. 

With the impacts of the climate crisis intensifying, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Arctic Energy Office knows that sustainable energy projects for the state of Alaska are a triple-win, for the climate, for the economy and jobs, and for the Alaskan environment. The Alaska Hydrogen Working Group is forging connections and insights that can pave the way for major clean energy advances. 

AnneMarie Horowitz
AnneMarie Horowitz has been with the Energy Department since 2010 and is the Acting Communications Director for the Arctic Energy Office.
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