October 31, 2023

West Virginia fuels the future

One of the reasons we are the most prosperous, powerful nation in the world is because of West Virginia’s ingenuity and grit.

For generations, we mined the coal that forged the steel that built the guns and ships that powered us to be the greatest country. We have sacrificed more than nearly any state, and we take tremendous pride in this legacy.

Once again, the time has come to reaffirm our enduring strength and service. West Virginia will soon be providing a new reliable, affordable and secure energy supply to reduce energy costs, strengthen the economy and enhance our energy and national security for the rest of the country.

Earlier this month, I proudly joined my colleagues in the West Virginia Hydrogen Hub Coalition to announce that the Mountain State will be the home to the Appalachian Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub, delivering $925 million in federal investments to the region under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and an estimated $6 billion in additional private investment. A hydrogen hub is a network of energy producers, energy consumers and manufacturers that will provide 20,000 jobs across our state and keep West Virginia the energy powerhouse of the nation for generations.

As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, I wrote and fought for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to include $8 billion to establish hydrogen hubs to demonstrate the production and use of hydrogen This legislation also ensures at least one hub will be located in Appalachia, the largest natural gas-producing region in the United States. The Inflation Reduction Act also provides further incentives to build out our hydrogen market.

With these historic laws, West Virginia will be the new epicenter of hydrogen. But what does this actually mean?

The Appalachian Hydrogen Hub means opportunities. It’s a chance to continue our legacy as America’s energy powerhouse. With a hydrogen network across West Virginia, we will produce hydrogen from natural gas, electricity and water and then use this flexible, powerful, emission-free fuel to run vehicles, generate electricity, fuel industrial manufacturing and heat homes and businesses safely.

It means new jobs and new families coming to West Virginia. The Appalachian Hydrogen Hub will bring 20,000 good-paying jobs to West Virginia communities such as Morgantown, Fairmont, Follansbee, Point Pleasant, Parkersburg, Belle and more. From the Kanawha Valley to the Coalfields, to North Central, the Potomac Highlands and the Northern Panhandle, our whole state will prosper because of the hydrogen hub. Combined with other recently announced projects, such as Nucor’s new steel mill in Mason County and Form Energy in Weirton, the hydrogen hub is truly a transformational opportunity for West Virginia.

The Appalachian Hydrogen Hub means community development. This private-public partnership will improve local infrastructure, benefit West Virginia small businesses and support the long-term growth of local economies.

The Appalachian Hydrogen Hub means energy security. As our foreign adversaries continue to weaponize energy, we must continue to pursue an all-of-the-above energy policy so we can support ourselves, our friends and our allies. This includes increasing fossil fuel production so that we can do cleaner than anywhere else in the world while we continue to invest in new and emerging markets like hydrogen.

Lastly, it means a chance for West Virginia to once again be the leader in a groundbreaking energy industry that has so much promise for our state and nation. With these investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, we are proving that innovation, not elimination, is the key to a thriving nation.

We secured this hub because of the hard work of countless individuals and organizations, including U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., former U.S. Representative David McKinley, R-W.Va., and Governor Jim Justice. This announcement truly shows that, when we work together on a bipartisan basis with close collaboration between our federal and state representatives on behalf of West Virginians, good things happen.

Since the founding of the Mountain State in 1863, West Virginians have come together and answered the call to power this great nation. With the Appalachian Hydrogen Hub, West Virginia is once again taking the lead and continuing to build a strong and prosperous America.

By:  Senator Joe Manchin
Source: Charleston Gazette Mail