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Hydrogen lobbying frenzy

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Apr 24, 2024
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Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Energy companies and trade groups lobbied heavily on the IRA's hydrogen tax credit in the first quarter of 2024, federal disclosures show.

Why it matters: The 45V incentive has emerged as the most consequential IRA implementation fight, accompanied by furious influence peddling in public and private.

Zoom in: The American Petroleum Institute, American Clean Power Association and a number of major oil companies reported lobbying on 45V implementation in the latest round of disclosures published this week.

  • The paperwork doesn't show exactly what they're saying behind closed doors. But it's clear that many in industry want looser rules on how "green" hydrogen is defined.
  • API, for instance, recently argued that the Biden administration's initial proposal "discriminates against certain technologies and feedstocks."

The Edison Electric Institute spent $4 million lobbying last quarter, its biggest expenditure since 2010 and its second-largest since quarterly reporting began in 2008, disclosures show.

  • That compares with $2.9 million in Q4 2023 and $3.6 million in Q1 2023. An EEI insider who spoke on condition of anonymity said the group tends to front-load its spending in the first quarter.
  • EEI reported lobbying on wildfire, hydropower licensing, IRA implementation and transmission bills like BIG WIRES and CETA, about which it has raised concerns.
  • Some individual utilities also had relatively large spends, including Duke Energy at $2.3 million and Dominion Energy at $1.4 million.

By the numbers: Lobbying spending stayed mostly flat across the energy industry compared with the final quarter of 2023. Some notable numbers:

  • American Petroleum Institute: $1.8 million in Q1, from $1.7 million in Q4 2023
  • American Clean Power Association: $410,000 in Q1, from $430,000 in Q4 2023
  • Solar Energy Industries Association: $480,000 in Q1, from $420,000 in Q4 2023
  • Nuclear Energy Institute: $390,000 in Q1, from $560,000 in Q4 2023
  • American Chemistry Council: $4.9 million in Q1, from $6.3 million in Q4 2023
  • Exxon Mobil: $2.2 million in Q1, from $2 million in Q4 2023
  • Shell USA: $1.6 million in Q1, from $1.7 million in Q4 2023
  • ConocoPhillips: $3.2 million in Q1, from $2.8 million in Q4 2023
  • Occidental Petroleum: $1.8 million in Q1, from $4.4 million in Q4 2023
  • Southern Company: $3.3 million in Q1, compared to $2.9 million in Q4 2023
  • NextEra Energy: $1.9 million in Q1, from $2 million in Q4 2023
  • American Electric Power Co.: $2.4 million in Q1, from $1.75 million in Q4 2023.

A few other notes:

  • Companies and trades are having early discussions with lawmakers about AI.
  • The PROVE IT Act is showing up quite a bit in oil company disclosures.
  • Permitting is still the issue of the day, with many lobbyists focused on both House Republicans' existing bills and Joe Manchin's forthcoming legislation.
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