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Connecticut and New York join a regional research hub for hydrogen energy

hydrogen fuel cells
Lars Plougmann
At its Palaestra building in London, Transport for London exhibits the building's hydrogen fuel cell power generators.

Connecticut has joined New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts to develop a proposal to become a regional hub for clean hydrogen energy.

The hub will be one of at least four designated in the U.S. through the 2021 federal Infrastructure spending bill.

The goal is to research, develop and build infrastructure that supports using hydrogen as a cheaper and cleaner alternative source of energy than fossil fuels. That means finding public and private partners to compete for $8 billion in federal climate resiliency funding.

“Connecticut has long been a leader in addressing the climate crisis and in researching and developing innovative technologies, and this exciting partnership unites both of those key leadership areas,” Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said in a statement.

Hydrogen is being sought as an emission-free energy source for industry sectors that have been slow to decarbonize, such as long-distance transportation.

“Expanding the hydrogen market is critical to New York’s aggressive pursuit of clean-energy alternatives that will supercharge our economy and advance our climate goals,” New York Governor Kathy Hochul said.

A bill proposed in Connecticut would create a task force focused on studying hydrogen power technology.

Connecticut state Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan, vice chair of the energy and technology committee, said this week he has concerns about the legislation.

“With current technology, hydrogen is an expensive fuel. Also pollution-free resources of hydrogen are unlikely to be affordable for decades so this is a concern for both our environment and our ratepayers,” Allie-Brennan said.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.