In a major step toward creating a low-carbon economy, Atlantic Canada’s energy leaders have united to form the Atlantic Hydrogen Alliance to support the development of hydrogen as a clean energy source.
The alliance, launched at an event in Halifax on Oct. 15, includes Heritage Gas, Liberty Utilities, Saint John Energy, the Atlantica Centre for Energy, EcoNext, the Offshore Energy Research Association, the Port of Halifax and Deloitte Canada, among others.
The hydrogen economy will redraw the region’s energy map.
“While more renewable electricity will be very important, it simply won’t be enough,” Alisdair McLean, executive director of the Offshore Energy Research Association says.
“Clean hydrogen gives us the opportunity to drastically reduce emissions in some of the hardest to decarbonize sectors, such as heavy transportation and industrial processes. If we’re serious about getting to net-zero, we need to get serious about hydrogen.”
The Alliance believes hydrogen will play an important role in Atlantic Canada’s energy transformation because it can be produced at large scale, stored for weeks or months to meet our peak energy needs in the winter, transported easily, and used in all the diverse ways that fossil fuels are used today. Recent articles in The Economist illustrate growing global interest in hydrogen as a means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The role of low-carbon hydrogen in the decarbonization of energy systems is becoming clear, but understanding hydrogen’s commercial applications and emerging economic development opportunities are only now coming into focus. Governments around the world, including the government of Canada and several provinces, are developing and executing hydrogen strategies that are building global momentum.
For the Alliance partners, it means the time to develop a clean hydrogen economy in Atlantic Canada is now, or the region risks being left behind.
“This is a significant opportunity to broaden regional access to clean energy,” said Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, who provided opening remarks at the event. “Together we have the population, expertise and the desire to make clean, green energy part of a prosperous economy.”
Two recent feasibility studies conducted in the Maritimes and in Newfoundland examined the role that hydrogen can play to support clean energy policy objectives in Atlantic Canada. The reports concluded that hydrogen could deliver 20 per cent of the region’s energy by 2050.
The Alliance contends that in order to meet the aggressive emission reduction targets established by the provinces and the federal government, a significant increase in renewable energy resources, beyond renewable electricity, will be needed to replace the fossil fuels we use today.
The work of the Alliance will focus on four key deliverables: developing an Atlantic hydrogen roadmap, identifying key enabling conditions for hydrogen development, facilitating the creation of one or more hydrogen “hubs” in Atlantic Canada, and increasing awareness and interest for hydrogen development locally.
The Alliance believes hydrogen can do what electricity will have difficulty achieving: it will help decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors, like industrial processes, heavy transportation, the marine sector and some power generation.
This transformation will require building a new net-zero energy system that is fueled by low-carbon energy including renewable electricity, renewable natural gas, and hydrogen.
Core and associate members of the Atlantic Hydrogen Alliance include industry associations,
utilities, industry stakeholders, energy stakeholders, academia, government departments and agencies, private businesses and potential end users of hydrogen.
More information on the Atlantic Hydrogen Alliance can be found at atlantichydrogen.ca.