California Senate Passes Senator Skinner’s SB 1369 to Encourage “Green Electrolytic Hydrogen” Projects

May 30, 2018

California Senate Passes Senator Skinner’s SB 1369 to Encourage “Green Electrolytic Hydrogen” Projects

Yesterday, the California Senate passed Senator Nancy Skinner’s (D-Berkeley) SB 1369 to support the development of pilot projects that will produce hydrogen gas from excess electricity generated by renewable energy installations. SB 1369 is now on its way to the Assembly.

“Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, has great promise as a zero-emission power source,” Skinner said. “SB 1369 aims to show how solar and wind can produce clean, green hydrogen and how that hydrogen can be integrated into California’s electric system planning.”

Solar and wind produced electricity can be used to power an electrolytic process that breaks apart water to make hydrogen gas and oxygen. The hydrogen gas can then be used as a transportation fuel or stored to generate electricity at a future point. Storing excess energy produced by California’s growing solar and wind installations allows the state to use this clean energy later when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Hydrogen energy storage is new however, and is not yet defined in state law. 

SB 1369 establishes a definition for storing renewable electricity as hydrogen, termed in the bill as “Green Electrolytic Hydrogen.” SB 1369 also requires the Energy Commission to consider green electrolytic Hydrogen in the state’s Integrated Resource Plans, which determine how different energy sources will feed into the electrical grid. Finally, SB 1369 also directs the Energy Commission, in consultation with the Public Utilities Commission and the Air Resources Board, to establish up to three pilot projects of 5 megawatts or less to demonstrate the use and viability of green electrolytic hydrogen.   

Hydrogen generated by SB 1369 projects could help meet Governor Brown’s goal for 5 million hydrogen and electric vehicles on the road by 2030, as well as an existing state target to produce 33.3 percent of hydrogen transportation fuel from carbon free resources.

“Electrolytic hydrogen from low-cost renewable energy resources could ultimately decarbonize our fuel supply,” said Skinner. “SB 1369 will put our power and transportation sectors on the path to a more stable and sustainable renewable energy future.”

Senator Nancy Skinner (@NancySkinnerCA) represents the 9th Senate District. She serves as Chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee and the Budget Subcommittee on Corrections, Public Safety and the Judiciary.