To date, gigawatt-scale announcements in the hydrogen sector have been dominated by oil titans such as Shell, BP and Equinor, typically involving plans for meeting large sources of existing demand in industrial clusters and in some cases their own oil refining operations. Prolonging the lifespan of multibillion-dollar gas infrastructure investments makes for another compelling incentive. But big utilities in Europe and North America, increasingly large actors on the global energy stage, are not staying on the sidelines. To learn more, read “Who Will Own the Hydrogen Future: Oil Companies or Power Utilities?”
- In the U.S., NextEra recently announced a 20-megawatt electrolyzer, essentially designed to produce green hydrogen for self-consumption at a gas-fired plant in Florida.
- Iberdrola revealed plans to build a 20-megawatt electrolyzer project for an ammonia factory in Spain. The system will include a 100-megawatt solar plant and a 20-megawatt-hour battery in addition to the electrolyzer.
- However, today, oil and gas companies have better access to gigawatt-scale hydrogen projects via their own refineries and the petrochemicals sector, which are often sited together in clusters.
Path to 100% Perspective:
Carbon and emerging technology experts believe at the moment, the economics of green hydrogen can’t compete with fossil-fuel-derived alternatives. For green hydrogen to work, electricity prices will need to be near zero and electrolyzer utilization rates will need to be high.
Oil and gas firms will likely continue to dominate the green hydrogen sector in the near term. Although the pursuit to leverage hydrogen as a way to achieve renewable energy goals remains a concept, it continues to be an option worth pursuing for both the oil and utility industry for the benefit of the renewable energy future.