California Legislature Passes Skinner’s SB 1369 Laying Groundwork for Green Hydrogen Energy Storage

August 31, 2018

Sacramento, CA — Today the California State Legislature passed State Senator Nancy Skinner’s (D-Berkeley) SB 1369 laying the groundwork for California to produce and utilize green electrolytic hydrogen to store excess renewably-generated electricity so that it can be deployed when needed. SB 1369 now goes to Governor Brown’s desk for his signature.

“Green e-hydrogen adds another tool to California’s energy storage toolkit,” said Senator Skinner. “Producing hydrogen from renewably powered electricity lets us cleanly use one of the most abundant elements in the universe.”

Renewable electricity generation fluctuates depending on the availability of sunlight and wind, producing more electricity than is needed when sun or wind are most abundant. This excess green electricity can power the process that splits water to extract hydrogen. The resulting hydrogen can then be stored and deployed when needed to re-generate electricity or cleanly fuel buses and vehicles.

SB 1369 would define “Green Electrolytic Hydrogen” (e-hydrogen) as hydrogen made with excess electricity from renewable sources. Going forward, the state, utilities, or other entities could potentially propose energy storage projects that utilize this technology and comply with this definition.

The ability to smooth out fluctuations in renewable electricity generation makes hydrogen storage critical to California achieving its renewable energy goals. Additionally, as non-carbon fuel source, e-hydrogen could help California’s transportation sector as it transitions to zero-emission vehicles. Alameda Contra Costa Transit (AC Transit) already uses zero-emission hydrogen buses in its fleet, and SB 1369 opens the door to more transit agencies benefitting from clean e-hydrogen projects.

“To reverse our climate crisis California and the world must eventually transition to 100 percent renewable energy,” said Senator Skinner. “Innovative new ways to store the electricity generated by wind and solar will help us get there.”

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.