North America

Oregon governor proposes hydrogen energy "blueprint"

Addressing a worldwide gathering of hydrogen energy enthusiasts, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski announced he will initiate a state �blueprint� to promote development and use of hydrogen as an energy source in Oregon.

Kulongoski welcomed participants from around the globe on July 31 to The Hydrogen Economy 2006, which discussed hydrogen research, development, and demonstration efforts.

The Oregon Democrat said hydrogen could be a key factor in mitigating environmental concerns, stimulating good jobs, and leading the way to independence from foreign oil.

Kulongoski to launch Energy Department initiative

�But we must have a strategy,� he said. �More specifically, I believe the state of Oregon needs a blueprint to guarantee meaningful and productive engagement by state government with the private sector in pursuit of that vision.�

Kulongoski said he soon would direct Oregon Energy Director Michael Grainey to develop a strategy to ensure that state government supports the effort to move the Pacific Northwest toward a hydrogen economy. He asked conference participants for their advice in developing the strategy.

�We need your brains, your hands, and your vision to maximize our competitive advantages in developing hydrogen technology,� he said.

The governor has set a goal to provide 25 percent of the state’s electricity needs from renewable energy by 2025 and 100 percent of state government’s electricity needs from renewables in the next four years.

�You’ll be interested to know that hydrogen fuel cells derived from renewable energy sources, including hydropower, will qualify for both of these ambitious goals,� he said. �We also classified hydrogen as an alternative fuel, so that it qualifies for Oregon’s unique business energy tax credit program.�

Kulongoski is proposing the Oregon Legislature increase the state business energy tax credit to 50 percent from 35 percent and that it increase the credit amount for individual projects to $20 million per project from $10 million.

Hydrogen panel weighs hydropower synergy

About 60 delegates took part the July 31-Aug. 1 conference, a satellite event to HydroVision 2006, an international hydroelectric industry conference, July 31-Aug. 4 at the Oregon Convention Center.

Panelists described hydrogen demonstration projects worldwide. One facet of the discussion was hydropower’s potential to contribute an off-peak power supply for hydropower production.

Presentations included an initiative to produce hydrogen at the 12,600-MW Itaipu hydroelectric project in Brazil and the prospects of exporting hydrogen as a byproduct of the 40,000 MW Inga hydroelectric complex proposed for the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Additionally, efforts in North America, particularly the Pacific Northwest and California, were explored.

Another major theme was the use of hydrogen as bridge between unrelated electricity supply and transportation fuel networks by developing a common hydrogen production, storage, and transportation infrastructure.

The Hydrogen Economy 2006 was organized by the Northwest Hydrogen Alliance, Bonneville Power Administration, and Hydro Review and HRW magazines with support from the Oregon Department of Energy, Portland General Electric Co., and the Hydrogen Engine Center Inc.