Critical Connection: Leaders Focus on Hydrogen and Renewables

A distinguished group of energy leaders convened in Golden, CO last week at the NHA Fall Forum to address a critical connection between two clean energy industries: hydrogen and renewables.

Washington, DC - A distinguished group of energy leaders convened in Golden, CO last week at the NHA Fall Forum to address a critical connection between two clean energy industries: hydrogen and renewables. The link is mutual: the hydrogen industry needs more renewables to produce hydrogen; and the renewables industry needs hydrogen for storage of excess or off-peak energy to address irregular supplies.

"Hydrogen and renewable technologies are often touted as the ultimate energy pair but one that is far away," said NHA Executive Vice President Debbi Smith. "While development is still very important, there has been a lot of progress recently with real examples that pragmatically exploit the benefits of each."

During the National Hydrogen Association's 2nd Hydrogen from Renewables Forum, September 22-24, 2008 which was co-hosted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, over 30 keynote and panel speakers revealed the latest on renewable-hydrogen installations, public policy, infrastructure development, financing, and commercialization strategies.

Some keynote highlights included opening remarks by Dale Gardner, Director of Renewable Fuels, Science and Technology at NREL, who set the stage for a lively discussion on policy topics by connecting all the renewable energy and hydrogen policy dots using federal legislation and state laws from progressive energy states like California, Colorado and Connecticut. Tim Taylor, CEO of Colorado Public Service Company, spoke on his company's study showing the viability of hydrogen to store renewable energy. Using hydrogen, the utility can store excess energy generated by wind turbines during the evening, when the wind typically blows hardest but demand is low. Electricity made from hydrogen can then be added to the grid during times of peak use.

Mike Eckhart, President of the American Council on Renewable Energy, also made a notable presentation on the role of financing and how the hydrogen industry should model itself to fund additional project development. And Dr. Sandy Thomas gave a well-received sneak peak at the NHA's soon to be published transportation analysis which shows the impact that many alternative vehicle technologies will have on greenhouse gases, oil consumption and the greening of the grid over the next 100 years.

The event was rounded out with a variety of panel presentations covered many topics including fuel cells that run on landfill gas and the now famous solar-hydrogen home developed by Mike Strizki of Renewable Energy International. It ended with an industry tour and highly interactive discussions resulting in key points which the NHA Renewable Hydrogen Working Group will use to develop a renewable hydrogen rollout plan.

"The information coming out of this meeting has been so open and honest. I've needed a meeting like this for a long time," James Blencoe, Hydrogen Discoveries, Inc.

To find out more about the Forum or download the presentations, please visit

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