Transcript: What Role Should Hydrogen Play in California’s Energy Future? (CA Climate Policy Summit 2023)

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3rd panel – Jerilyn Lopez Mendoza (TCC staff) (01:58:22):

We’re gonna try to get started on time because our time is short for this particular panel. It’s only 50 minutes, five zero minutes, I mean, everything. Thank you. So if you were looking for the hydrogen panel, you’re in the right place. We’re gonna be talking about the role of hydrogen in our energy future Question mark. so I just a quick introduction. I’m Jerilyn Lopez Mendoza. I am the Los Angeles regional organizer for The Climate Center. Give me a minute, I forgot something.


Just a couple of quick housekeeping reminders. We have one exit out of this room, and it is through the door that says exit. So in the case of an emergency, that’s where you go. if you wanna take hard copy notes, there are pens and pads of paper in the back. We’ve run out of water and I apologize for that. I’ll see if I can get some more because it’s a little warm in this room. and I’m trying to think if there’s anything else. If you don’t know where the bathrooms are yet or you’re just getting here you go down this hallway, you make a right and the restrooms will be on your left hand side. and hopefully that’s all the housekeeping we have. so I’d like to welcome you on behalf of to the both the Climate Policy Summit.


 this is our last breakout session after this session, which will end at four 50. We are having a reception back in the big plenary room that starts at five o’clock. So you have 10 minutes to make whatever calls, send whatever emails, and then you get to go off the clock with us and enjoy yourselves. I would like to start the introduction of our illustrious panel. we have a number of folks here today to talk about different perspectives of hydrogen, beginning with our moderator, Dr. Lewis Fulton. He’s worked internationally in the field of transportation, energy and environmental analysis and policy development for over 25 years. He’s a director of the Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways program, or steps within the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California Davis. There, he leads a range of research activities around new vehicle technologies and new fuels and how these can gain rapid acceptance in the market. So he’s our moderator, our fearful leader this, this afternoon. Wanna thank him for being here. I wanna thank all of you for being here, and we’re gonna get started. Thank you, Dr. Fulton.

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:00:46):

Gerald, thank you very much and welcome everybody. So we have a hot topic today to go with the hot room. We’re gonna look at hydrogen and the role of hydrogen in California’s energy future. And I think we’ve got a great panel to talk about it today. We’re gonna hear from each of them, their perspectives, and then we’re gonna mix it up with some discussion and take questions from the, from the audience. and with no further ado, we’ll, we’ll get started. I’m just gonna give you their name and affiliation. They can introduce themselves in their opening remarks, and I think there’s just one or two slides from each person. So we have Angelina Galiteva, who is who works for renewables 100 and Kaiso, but also is part of the arches. And I’ll at least steal enough of your thunder to say that that is the alliance on renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems, which is something important that we want to talk about today among other hydrogen topics. we also have next to her Sasan Sadat from Earth Justice. And then over there at the end, we have Joe Sullivan from I B E W. So why don’t we get started and go maybe in that order and people can give their opening remarks. And you, if you wanna make your presentation from there, you don’t have to it, whatever you want. What,

3rd panel – Angelina Galiteva (02:02:00):

What I can do. You want me over there?


I mean, whatever you’re comfortable with. I guess you’re fine here, whichever you prefer. Okay. Over to you, Angelina <laugh>.


Alright, well thank you very much and I’m very happy to be here. So, as the founder of Renewables 100 Policy Institute and working since 2007, when it wasn’t, you know, cutting edge to be talking about a hundred percent renewable energy for all sectors, it was bleeding edge. It was out there. even Greenpeace was telling us, you know, it’s not realistic to go to a hundred percent renewable energy. You should be working with less. We said, no, we are going for a hundred percent renewable energy because that’s the path forward. And if we actually want to curb climate change, if we want to improve air quality, if we want to just transition and lift all communities up, you have to do it with a hundred percent renewable energy. Just so you know where I’m coming from a little bit, my background is I’m from Eastern Europe, so I come from, you know, the Cher Noble land, where all of a sudden we realize that your government wasn’t gonna tell you the truth about your energy and where energy comes from, your government wasn’t able to stop pollution crossing through transboundary lines and polluting countries across the board.


And your government wasn’t going to tell you that people were doing experiments. And when the dome blew out of the chair Nobel nuclear power station, even the atmospheric scientists didn’t know how the atmosphere was going to move and where pollution was going to be. So a lot of kids in Bulgaria and other countries on mayday, yeah, proletariat unite, where everybody’s, this was communist time waving the red flags, they’re getting rained on by radioactive rain. And so cancer rates and deaths did occur. A lot of denial. The official results for Cher Noble, there only 40 people died of the firefighters. And one of them was a friend of mine who actually flew an open helicopter pouring concrete over a galvanized Cher Noble with no protective gear whatsoever. And then luckily enough, my parents did are engineers, and they were working on rock crushing factories in Africa.


So my next part of my childhood was in Africa, running around the Savannah and trying to bring electricity to an area where there’s no electricity. So I went from completely polluting electricity to no electricity whatsoever. So how do you decarbonize the legacy system that’s full of fossil fuel and mistakes? And then at the same time, how do you bring forward an energy solution for a system that has no access to electricity, whatsoever environmental justice and the, the grid that they have was so weak, and it’s connected to water pumping too. that you only had electricity at four o’clock in the morning, and that’s when you had water, so you had to fill up your bathtubs. And then in our school, which was in the middle of the bush, you know, we walked barefooted with all our animals and dogs and cats, whatever animal you wanted to bring, we had sheep and goats, no electricity.


They brought in solar panels and all of a sudden you had solar panels, water pumping, and us kids could run around it, our jogs could chew around it, you know, a woman could actually install it and run. It was really simple. It was like, wow, look at that solution. This is really cool. So I always wanted to do international relations and kind of move the paradigm internationally to where we all understand each other. And of course, energy is the most capital intensive industry, the most foundational of all. If you want to have change and ensure equity among countries, ensure progress, you’ve got to move to a hundred percent renewable energy across the whole board. And I only have two minutes. I wasted most of my time doing that. But this is how we come to Arches, because I’ve worked knowing that you have to change the energy system.


I figured I’ll learn about democracy and democratize the largest energy system on the face of this earth, which is the United States. So let’s move forward to a hundred percent renewable energy across all sectors. And how do we do that? I’ve been on the board of the kaiso since 2011, and we actually managed to decarbonize the, so we are at a hundred percent renewable electricity. The trick is to do it 24 hours, 365 days a year, a hundred percent of the time, every hour of every day. And this is where the other technologies that augment renewables, which are inherently intermittent, come in, you bring in hydrogen, which is a sink. You bring in battery storage, you bring in electric vehicles, and you integrate all of these silos that traditionally haven’t worked together. Your building stock, your transportation sector, your industry, your power plants, and electricity to create a system that allows for decarbonizing across the board and brings benefits.


Now, the, the federal government did bring the opportunity for us to have arches. And I’ll tell you that we were proudly submitting an application that is supported by over 300 partners, by multiple community based organization. And our objective is to make sure that we bring tangible economic benefits and provide that solution for a hundred percent decarbonization for the fourth largest economy in the world, in the most optimized way by building on the innovation that we have in California. But I think I’ll move to the next slide. I mean, you’ve seen the highlights of what the hub is. It’s distributed geographically, but this is our very famous Warhol painting that we are super proud of, which basically shows that all the arches hubs and the, the that, that we have throughout California coincide with disadvantaged communities, low income communities, and could provide tangible benefits for air pollution.


We are going for a green hydrogen hub, a hundred percent renewable energy hub. We to decarbonize the hard to decarbonize sector, starting with diesel transportation and making sure that we decarbonize and bring those tangible benefits to the disadvantaged communities and work with communities. We have a community benefits plan that is exemplary, that brings in not only frontline communities and not only mitigating air quality issues, but also providing economic development, job opportunities and training as well. So we are very happy to have partners in all those sectors as well. And as an example we do want to make sure we address the transportation sector, heavy duty transit, shipping, aviation, especially the long haul trucking. and the benefits as you can see here, are completely tangible and, and and visible. And, you know, I’ll stop with that because my time is over. I’m happy to talk about more about arches, but I will tell you this one thing.


We are going for a $1 billion hub from the federal government because of a solicitation in California and the pent up industry industrial interest for hydrogen, we unlocked the 56 billion potential. Our projects that we are submitting to the DOE are cost matching the 1 billion that the DOE requires. They require 50% cost match by 12.9 billion. And then the benefits that we see, if you go to the previous slide, you can see that the economic benefits just from mitigating the health impact are 2.94 billion a year. Just from the initial projects that we bring in. The hubs pay for themselves in terms of air quality, in terms of tangible health benefits, in terms of those environmental externalities we all care about and want to mitigate. So we don’t have to be relying on a fossil legacy system that’s more expensive, especially with the cost to our communities and our health. So thank you. Thank you so much for having me

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:09:28):

There. That’s a good, yeah, we, let’s clap for our opening remarks. And I, and since that last slide was up there, it’s not now, but I just want to make the point that in the arches plan, all vehicles are fuel cell and so they have zero vehicle emissions. So you have renewable clean hydrogen going to zero emission vehicles, and thus you get huge air quality benefits and a lot of it’s trucks and buses, which are not electrifying that fast. Okay, let’s move on And over to Sasan.

3rd panel – Sasan Saadat (02:10:00):

Thanks. yeah, my name is Sasan Sadaat. I’m a senior research and policy analyst with Earth Justice. in 2021 my colleague Sarah and I produced a report for our organization called Reclaiming Hydrogen for Renewable Future distinguishing Oil and Gas Industry Spin from Zero Emission Solutions. And the motivation for writing this report was basically, so Sarah and I work on this campaign called the Right to Zero. The goal of this campaign is to, as quickly as possible accelerate the transition from combustion to zero emission energy end uses in every corner of California’s energy system focusing most closely in the communities, most disproportionately harmed by combustion and air pollution. in that advocacy we, you know, we’re not wedded to electrification, but the reality of our campaign was that that was the commercially available and scalable technology for the vast majority of end uses we were examining.


And so we were surprised in our advocacy. I worked very a lot on freight pollution and port pollution as well as a little bit on buildings. And Sarah works a lot on the power sector. We were surprised at how much we were hearing about hydrogen as a as an being advanced as a solution set for these sectors. and, and surprised by what we thought were sometimes not super scrutinized claims about all the things that it could do and all the things that electrification couldn’t do. And when we examined who was advancing these claims and where they were coming from we found that most of it was backed by reports produced by a number of trade associations, which predominantly drew their membership from the oil and gas industry, industrial gas suppliers, chemical companies, and certain laggard auto manufacturers, OEMs that had not really invested in their electrification plans.


So it was a surprising source of insight on how California should best decarbonize its energy system. and that, you know, led us to scrutinize their claims, find a lot of resources, talk to a lot of other experts, and produce a report that we thought was, you know, basically the goal was to reclaim hydrogen. It can be a zero emission solution. It can help us carry renewable energy into the toughest corners of the energy transition and scrub fossil fuel combustion from them. But it also presents very real risks. so before I get into those, and I think we can talk about them throughout the panel, you know, the, the, the question of the panel is what sh role should hydrogen play in California’s energy future? I thought it would be important to talk about what role does hydrogen play in California’s energy present?


So California is actually one of the largest producers and consumers of hydrogen today. We use an enormous amount of hydrogen, all of it, basically all of it. 99% of it is derived from steam methane reformation of fossil gas. This process is extremely energy intensive globally. Hydrogen’s footprint is equivalent to the annual emissions of the nation of Germany. and not only is it extremely polluting from a climate perspective, but the SMR process, it also emits carbon monoxide, VOCs, NOx pollution, and other harmful air pollutants. and where SMR takes place in California, as you’ll see, these are a list of all the producers of California’s hydrogen today. all of them rely on smr, which is steam methane reformation. Almost all of them serve oil refining the main consumer of hydrogen today. and that process, usually because of the costs of transporting hydrogen, has to be co-located very near to the offtaker to the, to the oil refinery.


So the pollution from steam methane reformation adds to the existing pollution burden that is already happening in refinery adjacent communities from the oil refinery complex at large. as you can see, that’s about o over 2 million kilograms per day of hydrogen that we’re using. This is just for oil refining. I haven’t even talked about the amount of fertilizer that California imports synthetic fertilizer produced from fossil fuel derived hydrogen. Again could we go to the next slide please? And so that converts to about just under 800,000 tons per year of hydrogen that we already use all of it from fossil fuels, all of it polluting communities and warming the planet. and so the question we should really ask every time someone proposes, you know, hydrogen can be the savior for this sector or that sector, is what is your plan to clean up the hydrogen emissions already existing in California’s energy system already harming communities, air quality already cooking our planet?


Because for now the lar and for the foreseeable decade, the largest consumption of hydrogen will continue to be oil refining and ammonia production. and it’s really an important question. Why should we create new pots of demand for hydrogen when we have more than enough hydrogen to keep our hands full, to clean up the footprint of in this decade? as an estimate, you can look at Matthew Brata. He’s a, a Bloomberg new Energy finance analyst. He presented this to the California Energy Commission. Their estimate was that they, you know, looked at the forecast of renewable energy production in California between 2022 and 2025, if you wanted to decarbonize just hydrogen’s existing consumption in oil refining today that would consume two thirds of all the new wind and solar California would need to, is projected to deploy. So just cleaning up hydrogen’s current mess before you create a new category of demand in on-road transportation or in the power sector, would require two thirds of all the renewables we need to deploy.


It is a, it is a mammoth task. It’s not unachievable, it’s doable, but it is a very significant task. And one that is, we should be clear undermine every time we create a new category of demand where there wasn’t be before a hydrogen demand, you know, for consumption. So I think that’s sort of my pitch to any policy maker is if someone comes to you and says, we can put hydrogen into this car or this truck, or this bus, or this railway or this building or this gas pipeline, the question should be what is your plan to decarbonize the hydrogen we already use in oil refining? What is your plan to decarbonize the hydrogen we already use in form of imports of synthetic ammonia for fertilizer. California is one of the largest consumers of fertilizer. So we didn’t really talk about that here, but that is another enormous category of fossil fuel derived demand. So I’ll start there. That’s California’s hydrogen present that I think we need to, to, you know, use as a starting point before we talk about hydrogen futures.

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:16:49):

Thank you, Sasan. I think there’s some good grist for the mill for discussion there. We’ll get back to some of that. And now over to Joe.

3rd panel – Joe Sullivan (02:16:58):

Hi I’m Joe Sullivan. I work for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 11 and the National Electrical Contractors Association of Greater Los Angeles. And we are interested in green renewable electrolytic hydrogen. We see it as potentially a very big jobs creator and excuse me it must be speaking nerves <laugh>. couple things about this, I’m, I’m gonna be pretty brief. there are the existing workforce required for electrolytic hydrogen is in place today. in terms of, be it, you know, pipe fitters or iron workers or electricians, that there is an existing workforce today. there are workers that are going to be, or, or would be displaced from, you know, as we phase out of fossil fuels or, or move out of those that if they do work in these trades, they can move into hydrogen. It is potentially an opportunity for people to continue to work from those in the, but from the electrical standpoint Sasan made a good point about how much solar and the offtake is, we look at that as an opportunity to build solar.


 I talked earlier in the presentation about how the state of California needs, I think four times the amount of solar wind we currently have. We need that by 2035, and we have to build it at four times, five times as fast as we’re currently building it. And that presents some challenges with the as Angelina alluded to, with curtailment. And we can’t produce that all day and curtail, well, we see hydrogen as a way to continue to build and to create jobs because hydrogen op presents an opportunity for curtailment, much like electric vehicles, electric vehicle charging. So these are all exciting to us in the electrical industry. I’m not sure what I wrote down on this slide. So you know, right now saan point that we are either using or importing dirty hydrogen or dirty hydrogen derivatives, for example, you know, we, our agricultural sector uses a lot of ammonia, if I’m not mistaken, the vast, vast coming from Russia and Texas and it’s being brought over here at diesel vehicles. you know, that presents an opportunity. Our membership will say, we would like to do electrolytic hydrogen and cons, build that here, not bring it over our diesel make it from cl clean renewable resources.


These are massive, massive markets. I think, you know, I I think the only other thing I I would just add is that hydrogen, I, I know within the power sector there’s some back and forth, you know, people have different perspectives on it. one, it if hydrogen, you know, the city of Los Angeles is gonna keep open their OTCs and convert to hydrogen, or at least with scattergood, they decided to do that, which protects some legacy jobs. Now, these aren’t necessarily jobs from the construction trades, but also we are at a time where we’re facing things like brownouts and we need dispatchable power or you know, invasive power sources. And it’s presented to us that hydrogen presents that opportunity and we view it as an opportunity to take solar, take wind, and push it back into the power sector in a way that it can be consumed to keep the lights on and to help groups like L A D W P achieve their goals. So

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:21:05):

Yeah, I don’t know if we clapped for uses on, but, but that was for, for everybody. Hey, it doesn’t matter. <laugh> soan


And, and great job because we still have 30 minutes for, for discussion and q and a, so that’s great. Yeah. okay, well let’s, you know, there’s a lot of stuff you folks have put on the table here. We’ve heard about the value of renewable clean hydrogen and growing that in many, we could talk about what applications, but clearly transportation’s part of that, but there’s a already a lot of dirty hydrogen and refining and so that that tension is there the possibility for high road jobs. But I think I’m also hearing there’s a sort of in-state out-of-state question there, and will we produce the hydrogen within California? So that’s kind of an open question. and then there’s the question about the role of renewables in getting us enough electricity and whether hydrogen can help that or whether it takes away from that. So those are three things that I heard, but why don’t we just start by getting into the question of this clean hydrogen, dirty hydrogen.


If all the hydrogen in the state right now is from term natural gas with sea methane reforming which okay, we’ll we’ll call it gray hydrogen and there could be some blue hydrogen, which means that you’ve used carbon capture to capture that co2, but it isn’t green hydrogen, which is from electrolysis from the system. You could also make it from biomass. But let’s say starting with you Angelina, how do you see that tension and how are we gonna grow a green hydrogen system on top of what currently we might call a dirty hydrogen system?

3rd panel – Angelina Galiteva (02:22:37):

Well, it’s, it’s, it’s the age old question, right? How do you decarbonize an inherently fossil csta? We’ve been doing that on the electricity side forever. This is a legacy system. We’ve got decades of legacies of where the operation of the electrical system has been fossil based. It’s centralized power, it’s one directional. We set a price, the rate payer cuz they’re called the rate payers, pays that price and it’s one directional. We are seeing an evolution happen on the electricity side. We are seeing that rate payer becoming a customer. We are seeing that rate payer becoming a consumer. We are seeing that rate payer becoming a pro-consumer and advocating about where their energy comes from and what they can do with their energy. At the same time we’ve seen the system that has been centralized in one directional becoming multidirectional, becoming much more diversified, much more decentralized, much more democratized and open and much more digitized.


And at the same time, we’ve seen, you know, if we had started 20 years ago where people said, oh, you know, don’t start working on renewables until you tell us how we decarbonize all of our coal fire power plants. We wouldn’t even have taken the first step. It takes work, it takes dedication, it takes top-down policies that basically say start on a path with the start of the finish. Which is why SB 100 is so great. You’re completely decarbonized by 2045 and here are the milestones you have to meet. When we initially introduce the 10% renewable energy into the grid, all the utilities went nuts and said, oh, it couldn’t be happen. You’re going to stabilize the grid and we are gonna have outages all over the place. Then we pushed it to 20, then we pushed it to 30, then we brought the training, we brought the jobs and it slowly got to the point of where we now in California, the fourth largest economy in the world, I cannot stress this enough, cannot operate on a hundred percent renewable energy.


And we can use that renewable energy to decarbonize sectors that are also fossil based, such as the transportation sector. We are decarbonizing fossil into the light duty vehicles by having a mandate for electric vehicles and battery powered. We are decarbonizing the building stock by saying, thou shall have solar on your, on your roof and you will have electric appliances and efficiencies. So there’s a delicate plan and a delicate balance of tackling a large issue, having a long-term vision, but then having the incremental stops steps of how you get from point A B to point B to point C to point D to exit Y. And you achieve your goal saying that it’s e all or nothing right off the get-go doesn’t work. You need to bring in industry, you need to bring in your supporters, you need to have a political movement, you need to have grassroots.


And sometimes communities are impatient. I mean you’ve seen CCAs, CCAs came as a result because the utilities didn’t act fast enough. So communities in and said, Hey democracy, we are taking back our power. We make a choice, we are going to move forward in that direction. It’s all intertwined and it’s never, you know, black and white, there’s a lot of gray in between, but the end goal has to be clear and the end goal has to be carbon free biospecific goal. And then you take those advances in that knowledge and you go to, whether it’s Eastern Europe where their dirty polluting infrastructure and say, this is how you decarbonize, or you go to sub-Saharan Africa where 2 billion people, most of the people who have no electricity on this planet live. And you take those solutions and you say, here, let’s move together so you don’t make the mistakes we make and save the planet. Cuz unless you’re a multi-billionaire going to Mars, there’s no planet B for all of us. So we are stuck here. We’d better fix it for our kids.

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:26:11):

Okay. All right, thank you. and I think we still could talk about refineries, but let’s pause on that for a minute. We could come back to that

3rd panel – Angelina Galiteva (02:26:19):

[inaudible] transportation sector. Get rid of the refineries. Okay. <laugh> <laugh>, like then use green hydrogen.

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:26:25):

Well I, I, I give it to Sasan to follow up on that, but I also, and I know Angelina, you could answer this one quite well, but let me hear from Sasan about the role of hydrogen in the electric sector and whether you think it’s gonna steal renewables from the electric sector or somehow help the electric sector to manage things like curtailment.

3rd panel – Sasan Saadat (02:26:45):

Sure, yeah. And, and I think a lot of this boils down to what has been summarized as a question of like, what is hard to decarbonize or what is hard to electrify. And I just want to quickly like table set why that question is so s like salient for this conversation. It’s because electrolysis and we’re really glad that California has stated its commitment to green hydrogen through electrolysis, which is the only, you know, end to end zero emission pathway for hydrogen production. that’s scalable and compatible with the clean energy future, at least in our view. nevertheless, electrolysis has an enormous energy penalty. It requires gobs of energy to convert that electricity into hydrogen. So the choice to decarbonize something with hydrogen when it could have been directly electrified is not a harmless choice. It’s a choice that wastes scarce renewable energy.


And because of the climate crisis and what Angelina described, we are against a clock. And so every time we take the maximum amount of renewable energy and use it to displace the minimum amount of fossil fuel, that’s a bad calculus from the climate point right? Standpoint. So you didn’t do that, right? So, you know, and, and same for air quality. So, you know, one thing that’s a little bit important to point out is like the study that was used to show the air pollution b reductions at on Angelina’s slides, like that study looks at the de the air pollution impacts of decarbonizing California’s economy and the assumptions actually rely on direct electrification. So that study doesn’t tell us what hydrogen, you know, gets us in terms of air pollution benefits. Certainly you could decarbonize all of internal combustion engines with hydrogen fuel cells and get those air pollution benefits, but you probably shouldn’t act.


In fact, you certainly shouldn’t. And what we need really is really strong teeth for determining what is actually hard to electrify because if we say all of medium and heavy duty is hard to electrify, then you end up potentially wasting scarce renewable energy. And on the power sector, to get back to your question, if green hydrogen production is not accompanied by new additional renewable energy resources, and scientists at Princeton have looked at this question and said it has to actually be matched hourly in order to produce an emissions benefit, if it’s matched daily that that additionality won’t be there and you’ll lead to an increase in emissions, then we see a potential for hydrogen to be, frankly, what we suspect the oil and gas industry’s reason for being so supportive of it is it turns into in the decade that we need to make the most progress a threat that decarbonize, that cannibalizes the progress we’ve made in the power sector by eating up all the renewables, we’ve finally, you know, been able to scale and creating a debate or confusion around which infrastructure pathways we need to decarbonize the transportation sector, the other sector that we’re on the cusp of, you know, tipping points to see dramatic progress.


 and this is happening already for us, at least for our clients at the ports where they’re seeing port tenants who had finally gotten around to doing blueprints and studies around how to directly electrify their harbor equipment and their cargo handling equipment and drainage trucks saying, well, you know, we’ve been approached by a lot of fuel cell developers or hydrogen developers who say maybe that’s the way to go, and so we’re gonna stop our plan and, and consider a pilot instead. Well, that is an alarming proposition for the communities who have been banging on the door for clean air for so long, because if you, again, double click into what it would take to hydrogen, i a, a port terminal, it will require a method of bringing that hydrogen there, storing that hydrogen there. Those are all years away, right? Because at least for now, almost all the hydrogen use is transported by truck. Those trucks are not zero emission before you get a pipeline. It will be, it will be

Audience (02:30:37):

Hydrogen power trucks. They’re coming <laugh>.

3rd panel – Sasan Saadat (02:30:39):

We, we certainly hope so. But imagine delaying an investment in charging infrastructure when there are commercially available battery electric drainage trucks that can perform the same duty cycle as the commercial hydrogen fuel cell truck. Right? Right now there’s no long haul fuel cell truck available on the market. The one that we’ve seen, you know, proposed to be available by Nicola has the exact same amount of range as the Tesla battery electric vehicle. So at least so far it’s only a theoretical advantage. And the trouble with this hard to electrify, you know, criteria is that the target is moving because what electrification is able to achieve directly is continually improving. You know, often we see like a comparison of like, well battery electric vehicles and electrification today can’t do these things. So that’s why we need hydrogen, which will soon one day be able to do those things. But that assumes that the, the status of direct electrification technology stays static, which it won’t, it will also improve and it will benefit from the scalability of light duty passenger electric vehicles from significant investments in battery technology. So it would be foolish to assume that like what electrification can achieve directly today is all that it’ll ever be able to achieve for our scenario planning.

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:31:51):

Yeah, fair enough. Good. We’re we’re, we’re on the verge of some two beer conversations here, <laugh>. there’s a lot of good stuff here. I do want to give Joe a chance, and I, and I just want to ask you to tell us more about why you think hydrogen fuel cells can, can bring jobs to California. I mean, part of what we’re hearing is if we’re taking it away from electrification, maybe electric vehicles, isn’t it just a wash? Or do you think that there’s, on the high road jobs angle, is there more than just a wash there?

3rd panel – Joe Sullivan (02:32:26):

 yeah, it’s a good point. We like to build charging stations. We like to build solar, we like to build battery energy storage. these are almost more direct for us. We’ve been, we’re doing them already. We, they’re great sources of business for us. What we’ve heard from people we partner with, like, you know, the Munis, dwp, Glendale, Burbank, the ports that told us, SMUs told us that, hey, we don’t have the infrastructure to go a hundred percent electric. We cannot do it all with solar and batteries. That’s what their message to us has been. Now, I’m not saan so I don’t have independent research to refute them, but they tell us that they are going to have to have an in generation power source. And we also look at industries like agriculture like what’s going on at the refineries, and we see these all as opportunities to electrify and to create local jobs.


And you know, I, I mentioned this earlier, but we invest a lot in these jobs. These, when I say jobs, i, I don’t mean jobs, I mean careers. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we’ve got close to a thousand people that are previously incarcerated in our program. there’s the recidivism rate is zero. there’s a big benefit there. And these people aren’t going to the emergency room. They retire with dignity, they earn good livings, they own homes. they get trained for five years. We spend $30,000 on each one of ’em who goes through our apprenticeship program. So when we talk about jobs, we’re talking about really addressing something that’s fundamental in our community. We’re talking about addressing people that are, you know, veterans that don’t have careers, they’re living. we have direct entry programs for veterans. so we are talking about, you know, changing lives and helping who don’t have opportunities now they still have to get into our program, which isn’t easy or a different trade.

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:34:24):

Okay. I know you wanna jump in. Let me just say one thing, but pretty soon we’ll take questions. Are we using just hands? Is that how we’re doing questions? Okay. So get ready with your questions. Let’s let Angelina have the next intervention here and then we’ll, we’ll go from there. And

3rd panel – Angelina Galiteva (02:34:37):

I’m saying that the, the one thing Saan and I don’t disagree, saan and I fundamentally agree that we do need to get this right and we do need to be very careful about how we use the hydrogen vector and how we use the hydrogen vector to benefit the system to optimize to that end goal for decarbonizing, again, the fourth largest economy in the most efficient way by bringing tangible benefits to our communities, to the air that we breathe and to our electrical power and energy systems. Overall, it’s wonderful that we have the jobs but those jobs, maybe even in the fossil industry, focusing on jobs that are in the green energy in the green sphere and making sure that we bring those high quality jobs to the communities that are the frontline communities and at risk, while we’re decarbonizing the economy is absolutely important to all of us and we need to be careful with the, with the climate narrative. All of us have to be careful. A lot of times you’ll hear, hey, nuclear is the solution for climate change and for the climate narrative because it’s fossil free. Now I have very strong opinions on that, which I’m to

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:35:41):

Share, but we’re not gonna get into that

3rd panel – Angelina Galiteva (02:35:42):

Right now. We’re not going to get into that right now. But we do need to be careful as well. And as we decarbonize the transportation sector, yeah, we should absolutely directly electrify everything that we can, but also to directly electrify everything that we can, which is the most efficient model by building the renewables to do that, we are going to by default have a lot of excess power and a lot of excess energy that would be curtailed and not used. So why not have hydrogen as a sink? Why not have water desalination as a sink? Why not have other opportunities to again, optimize the use of that renewable energy and make the system more resilient, more reliable, and more efficient and more just for all. That is the name of the goal we need to be improving. And the metric has to be, are we decarbonizing our sectors?


Are we decarbonizing our economy? Are we using the most efficient way to get there? And let’s figure out what that is because nobody wants to waste energy and nobody wants to create more pollution on the path to decarbonization. The issue is figuring out what’s the bottom up and what’s the top down approach that gets us to the end goal in the best way possible. Because if we can’t figure it out in California, my God, we have much less hope for the rest of the world. So we are all in it together. Let’s get it done.

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:37:00):

Okay, yeah. So let’s go, especially questions that relate to anything that wasn’t clear with what got said, but I guess you could take us off in a different direction too. We’ll start over there. <laugh>.

Audience (02:37:11):

Hi, Monica Emry with Sierra Club. first congratulations to for finishing your application on

3rd panel – Angelina Galiteva (02:37:16):

Yay 15, 1500 pages

Audience (02:37:22):

<laugh> props cat tip there. I was really excited to see on the Arches website the removal of dairy bio mehan as a consideration for fuel source <affirmative>. that’s a really big deal for environmental justice community, so thank you for I wanted to ask, you know, we talked a about a lot of parts of the hydrogen system, so I’m only gonna talk about the, the making of it for production. Really excited to hear about the opportunities for only a hundred percent renewal energy. So I have two questions. first, would there be any steam methane reform, any use of biogas or any other biofuels as part of arches? And number two, to the extent that the grid will be used and curtailment of existing renewable energy, how does arches make sure that power plants, especially the other section that’s talking about right now is power plants in environmental justice communities don’t get run extra, whether they’re peaker pads or base load plants. Correct. To make, if we’re using the grid, 40% of the grid today is on fossil gas plants. How would arches guarantee that? I’m curious to hear also from Sasan, what were the kind of ways in which earth justice supports making of green hydrogen to the extent that that hydrogen expand?

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:38:37):

Well who wants to go at these? Maybe Sasan you can take a first or if you want, or Angelina obviously is ready to answer these.

3rd panel – Sasan Saadat (02:38:47):

I i, not me. if I go first it’ll be to say that I definitely share Monica’s questions. I’m curious to know how mo archer’s answers that. I mean, just so that it’s clear, earth justice thinks that the hourly matching and like, so basically you have temporal and geographic matching are both necessary based on the research we’ve evaluated to ensure that any hydrogen produced with reliance on the grid can achieve its stated carbon intensity. Otherwise the wrecks may, you know, potentially be covering up a significant grid, you know, grid demand for fossil derived electricity.

3rd panel – Angelina Galiteva (02:39:22):

Okay. Yeah, I, I’ll tell you that, you know, I don’t think Rex should necessarily be used. Rex is probably, I mean, I often say that it is controversial to the, can you explain that a acronym? Renewable energy credits, where you take an electron and you split the energy from the green attribute. So if it’s a solar plant producing the, the, the, the renewable energy the green attribute is banked and traded and, and can be used to say, this is what we use to make. If, if the plant is not directly connected, but you’re using the grid to do it, I think our metrics should be, again, moving on a path forward, deep decarbonization of California grid every single day, every hour, and figuring out how we do that and using hydrogen to optimize that transition and using a low-carbon grid to create what is essentially a solar fuel that allows us to decarbonize hard to decarbonize sectors. And that allows us to also utilize it to continue the path forward for decarbonization. So

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:40:21):

Will there be biogas?

3rd panel – Angelina Galiteva (02:40:23):

So biogas, <laugh>

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:40:26):

The two, I’ll do my job here. It’s

3rd panel – Angelina Galiteva (02:40:27):

All, it’s all electrolytic hydrogen. The two exceptions that we have, and I dunno, we have projects for that I need to look into it, is one for wastewater treatment. If there’s wastewater facilities that have hydrogen, it’s, it’s a no-brainer. We should use that because you have it anyway. And then there was also a request for fire mitigation. If we are clearing up the forest to have smaller modular scale hydrogen facilities that may be able to utilize that green waste on location on a case by case basis, it’s never going to be cost effective, but it is a way to utilize that waste instead of directly burning it. So that is something that is also being, we are being asked to look at that we have an open mind to doing. But those are the, the areas where arches is focused. Arches is a green hydrogen hub, electrolytic hydrogen hub focused on making sure that as we decarbonize the energy system, that we have a way to decarbonize fuels, that we have a way to decarbonize industries that are very difficult to decarbonize. It is the only vector to decarbonize shipping and aviation and certainly as agriculture as we talked about with ammonia and hydrogen derivatives. So we all need to work together to use the system that we have and drive towards a deep low carbon standard carbon free standard ultimately by 2035 or 45, whatever the new goal is to, to get us to where we need to be. As I said, it’s, it’s not going to be easy and it’s going to take a lot of us working together at Thank you Monica for yeah. Acknowledging that.

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:41:56):

And what about hydrogen in electricity generation itself? I know that is an important part of the, the portfolio for arches over the next few years, and I guess it’s to replace fossil natural gas with hydrogen and retrofit turbines to run on hydrogen. So now you have renewable turbine electricity. correct. That is part of it, right?

3rd panel – Angelina Galiteva (02:42:19):

Yes, that is part of it and power is part of it. So utilizing hydrogen, this is one of the instances where we hope it’s one of the only ones and quickly we’ll transition to larger scale fuel cell use as as we get the technology available. But those are peak power plants that one don’t use, don’t run a lot, and we are not going to be ramping up. We are going to have a, a situation of where we are making sure that we are not ramping up fossil facilities to produce hydrogen. That will not be the best thing for, for u utilizing our power plants. We want to build more renewables to make the hydrogen and utilize the excess curtail energy for hydrogen. That’s the objective. But there are certain power plants whether they’re once through cooling or invasive power plants that do need to run for reliability and they do need to be repowered.


If we don’t repower them with hydrogen, they’re gonna get repowered by natural gas. So making sure that we have a hook to say that if you’re going to very empowering an invasive power plant, you are empowering it with a hundred percent hydrogen. You’re not increasing NOx pollution and you are transitioning very quickly to operating on a hundred percent. Hydrogen helps arches in two ways. One, it quickly provides demand because the demand is ready to go. So you’re scaling the need for green hydrogen. It provides a pathway to reduce the cost of hydrogen because we want to show a reduction in cost of hydrogen just like we did with renewables. Whereas solar now is your lowest cost on the grid. We want offshore wind coming in and playing a a part of that vector as well. We want behind the beauty distributed energy coming in and supporting the grids. You don’t have to ramp up those power plants to the extent that you can, but since the fuel cost of those power plants, if they’re operating only on peak demand is so small and it is such a small part of the overall infrastructure of building that power plant, why not go to a clean fuel as soon as you can and show that you can reduce the cost and you can show the benefits and then quickly have a pathway for transitioning to zero carbon and not zero carbon, but zero emissions with fuel

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:44:18):

Cells. So fuel cell electricity generation eventually. Okay, thank you.

3rd panel – Angelina Galiteva (02:44:21):

Well, but, and in the meantime, fuel cell electricity and hard to decarbonize shipping aviation. Yep. And long haul trucking and distributed generation. Yep. Because fuel cells are cost effective in DG

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:44:31):

Applications. Okay. Okay. I think you’re next.

Audience (02:44:34):

Thanks. Linda Hutch knows the others out front and also the EB charging for all coalition soan. I really appreciated your like warnings about replacing something with something else that’s not necessarily the best choice. And I’m really worried about path dependence in the state. Basically Gove is a funding they have for zero emission vehicles. They’re supposed to be technology neutral and so they actually won’t fund non-profits that say we’re only going to promote electric vehicles. We’re not gonna promote fuel cell vehicles. They actually won’t, you won’t get the grants. And so by controlling the purse streams like that, they’re actually driving and supporting hydrogen fuel cells and basically those fuel cell stations cost one to 2 million to build and an ev full ev supply equipment charger cost, you get 143 to 286 of those for each hydrogen billing station. And so I’m worried about, I heard overheard the airport someone talking about we’re gonna build these hydrogen fuel stations across the state, and so I’m worried about path dependence, people buying them and then having to have those hydrogen filling stations. And so my question for you is how can we help the state stop having this technology neutral kind of cover to support the Henderson fuel industry when battery electric technology for EVs, at least for light duty for sure, probably medium and heavy is the way to go.

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:45:47):

I’m just gonna start with, with a perspective. I mean, you’re right. It’s very hard to stay technology neutral when we’re down to the brass tax of what each technology has to do and what it needs, right? You just can’t have a technology neutral plan to build a hundred refueling stations or something like that. I mean, you could be neutral on the technology of those stations, but yeah. So we have to be honest about when we’re technology neutral and when we aren’t. but maybe try to still be fair, right? One, one other technical point is actually a large hydrogen refueling station for the amount of vehicles that it can refuel on a daily basis actually can be cheaper than charging, than public fast charging. So that’s a a, a report we’ve, we’ve done recently. Thank you. I’m down to two minutes <laugh>. I think we’re all down to two minutes. Okay. Let’s hear from the panel on that.

3rd panel – Sasan Saadat (02:46:34):

Sure. Yeah, I think it’s a really good question and I think technology neutrality has been a cover for a lot of problematic and, and frankly proven to be poor investments that the state has made and, and the government, I mean it’s, and another word, it’s all of the above, right? And that we see the technology neutrality or let’s get away from the colors and just talk about carbon intensity. We see that on the production side too. Well, we are not earth justice is not neutral in a system of pollution and extraction and combustion. We are not neutral. We care about a lot of things besides just the carbon intensity including the wastefulness, the efficiency, and whether there’s pollution involved in the life cycle of the process. as for light duty vehicles, I think there is progress, at least at the California Energy Commission in this recognition.


So in their most recent integrated energy resource report, the i r they very plainly stated, I mean, they didn’t make an opinion on the matter, but they basically gave you the data to know the investments in hydrogen refueling for light duty was one of the biggest waste the state has ever made. Right now we have enough hydrogen refueling capacity for passenger vehicles to support 28 times the number of fuel cell electric vehicles there are today on the road. And those are not easily upgraded to, to, you know, be used for medium and heavy duty. So we basically sunk a bunch of investment in a wrong strategy and now, you know, they’re saying, well, we need to hit 200. It was part of this governor executive order. And it’s, you know, I think the CEC’s reports are showing very clearly, like we should ask questions about where we should be spending this money. You’re seeing, you know, hydrogen being moved, migrated just to medium and heavy duty, which is progress, but not all. Medium and heavy duty is hard to electrify either. We should really be focusing just on long haul and what does long haul mean and does that fleet have a fast refueling time? Those are the cases where hydrogen could make sense and it would be an advantage. But we’re not seeing that kind of criteria used in the decision making. The state is used so far,

3rd panel – Angelina Galiteva (02:48:31):

But well, we should and, and you are right. Heavy duty is where you don’t want to focus light duty, as I said, that’s very battery focused and you should be battery focused. And when we are talking about hydrogen and green hydrogen and additionality, we should also try to create a level playing field, right? The same for battery electric. If you want additionality and more electric vehicles, we’ve got to make sure that whether it’s the renewable allergy credits or whether it’s carbon intensity or whatever it is that you want to have, that is a system that applies to all.

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:48:59):

So we’re being told to stop, but I think we can take an extra couple of minutes here. Let’s just try to get a couple of quick lightning around questions. Go ahead. Water, water, water dry. That doesn’t sound like a lightning round <laugh>, but any, any quick ones on water?

3rd panel – Angelina Galiteva (02:49:14):

Yeah, that’s a good one. Water is the, the next frontier, right? And what kind of water can we use? Can we use brackish water? Can we desalinate water? Can we use salt water? and I think there is also a belief, a misbelief and a misperception of the efficiencies of hydrogen and water. what I am told by our scientists is that it takes two flushes of a normal toilet to power a whole house for a day with hydrogen, if you were converting it, that’s how much water it would take to run a household.

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:49:43):

So, and, and arches is taking water requirements into account in its,

3rd panel – Angelina Galiteva (02:49:46):

We are taking water requirements into account

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:49:49):

So we can follow up on

3rd panel – Angelina Galiteva (02:49:50):

That one. We’re not going to be using, we’re not going to be stressing. But I will tell you one thing if we continue, if we continue on the fossil pathway around the largest freshwater user after agriculture of freshwater is the fossil industry, the hydrogen vector will use a lot less water than any fossil vector. So let’s keep that in mind

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:50:09):

As well. Okay, good, good For the cocktail hour. Last question. no

Audience (02:50:12):

One mentioned environmental justice and the communities where this hydrogen’s being produced. We just saw that in in Greg Harris’ slide in, in 2018 when the hydrogen plant came on in Chevron and Richmond, that how much pollution spiked in the area. And so how does environmental justice serve

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:50:34):

Hydrogen get a we can go into <laugh>. Well, I mean, so I mean, yeah, so the question is, I mean, the production of hydrogen, how is that gonna not create emission spikes?

3rd panel – Angelina Galiteva (02:50:45):

Well, if it’s electrolytic hydrogen made with renewables, there’s no emissions by definition, but I

Audience (02:50:50):

Assume that’s a little bit of it. 95% is lost of fuel.

3rd panel – Angelina Galiteva (02:50:54):

Well, the goal is to transition to a hundred percent, right? You start, this is the start. I’m not saying we’re at the end. This is the start. So let’s, yeah, we need to ramp up the, so there’s a great big, the fossil free one right now. There’s a great

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:51:06):

Big gray hydrogen elephant and there’s a little electrolytic renewable hydrogen hamster that’s going to eventually be bigger than the elephant. And then we have to figure out how to get rid of the elephant. Is that a

Audience (02:51:17):

Actually might be a decade or mark.

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:51:20):

Everything’s gonna take a decade. Oh, more.

3rd panel – Angelina Galiteva (02:51:23):

Yeah. And the status quo is not an option.

3rd panel – Dr. Lewis Fulton (02:51:26):

All right. I wanna thank the panelist and then take it to the cocktail hour.

3rd panel – Sasan Saadat (02:51:32):

The, I I, I appreciate you asking for it to be phrased as environmental justice. It was really the implication of my initial slides was to highlight, you know, hydrogen is California’s energy present, it’s produced from fossil fuels, it emits air pollution. That air pollution occurs in black and brown communities near refineries. So our question would be, why would California try to pre create a hydrogen economy that doesn’t at least first operate under the assumption that we will tackle that pollution injustice? Mm-hmm.

Jerilyn Lopez Mendoza (Staff, The Climate Center) (02:52:04):

<affirmative>. Okay. Thank, I wanna thank all the panelists and also our moderator. We had a very hot topic. We literally started with that comment when we came in. So thank you all for being here. And please remember we’re having a reception that will start at five o’clock in the big planetary room. Thank you again. Yeah, let’s.