Dec 5, 2023 - Energy & Environment

Biden reportedly seeks guardrails for hydrogen

David Turk talks to Niala Boodhoo at an Axios panel in Dubai

Photo: Arthur Abraham/Hyku D Photography for Axios

Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk told Axios the Biden administration takes industry feedback "incredibly seriously" after a reported leak of draft rules for hydrogen tax credits.

Why it matters: The highly anticipated guidance is the subject of an intense lobbying fight between industry and environmental groups.

Driving the news: Bloomberg and Politico reported that the draft rules include guardrails to ensure that hydrogen production that qualifies for the credit is produced with newly constructed renewable energy.

  • "I'm incredibly disappointed that someone leaked this document," Turk told Axios on the sidelines of COP28 in Dubai.
  • "I can't comment on this document, but we're still working to deliberate and put the final package together," he said during an event in Dubai with Axios' Niala Boodhoo.

Context: The Inflation Reduction Act created the incentive for the production of "clean" hydrogen, which can be used as a low-carbon fuel for industry, power generation and transportation.

  • The guidance isn't final yet, but there are divides about what, exactly, counts as "clean."
  • Environmentalists want hydrogen production facilities that qualify for the credit to use new sources of carbon-free energy to power their electrolyzers — the complex systems that make hydrogen from water — so they don't drain the renewables already on the grid.
  • Industry groups, meanwhile, generally want a more lenient interpretation to fuel growth in the industry.
  • "If true, the Biden Administration's proposed strategy for implementing these provisions will fail to get this new industry off the ground," American Clean Power Association CEO Jason Grumet said in a statement.

What they're saying: Turk told Axios that "it is a big deal to get this right."

  • "We take this feedback incredibly seriously and we try to approach this with some humility," he said.
  • "We've got a lot of smart people at the Department of Energy, hydrogen experts who have literally been working in this industry for decades. But we have to be humble."
  • The Treasury Department declined to comment.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to add omitted word in American Clean Power Association's name.

Go deeper