On Oct. 13, the Biden administration announced a $7 billion investment in hydrogen “hubs” across the country, several of which include projects that IBEW members will build.
These developments, which stretch from the Pacific Northwest to the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic, aim to increase the use of a new technology that generates low-carbon energy, while also making union jobs part of the plan. The investment of nearly $50 billion in clean hydrogen, which includes federal public assistance and a predicted $40 billion in private funds, represents one of the largest investments in manufacturing and job creation in history.
The hydrogen hubs are expected to provide employment opportunities in construction and manufacturing. The Department of Energy envisions that the projects associated with these jobs will offer Davis-Bacon prevailing wages, community benefits agreement and registered apprenticeships. Some of the hydrogen hubs that received federal funding have already agreed to use PLAs for construction work.
“The use of hydrogen as a low-carbon, environmentally-friendly alternative energy carrier and fuel is very promising and has the potential to support upwards of 700,000 jobs domestically,” said IBEW Government Affairs Department Director Danielle Eckert. “The IBEW is committed to ensuring that these hydrogen hubs create tens of thousands of well-paying IBEW jobs.”
Sixth District International Representative Joree Richards said that members of Indiana’s Gary and Hammond Local 697 will play a crucial role in the Midwest Alliance for Clean Hydrogen project at the BP Whiting Refinery in Whiting. Local 697 members have a long-standing relationship with BP due to their maintenance and capital project work there.
The DOE said the investments will set the country on a path to build a high-road hydrogen ecosystem that supports workers transitioning from fossil fuels with equally good jobs (in both construction and operations) and creates opportunities for new workers through registered apprenticeships.
Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Biden-Harris administration expects the seven “H2Hubs” to kickstart a national network of clean hydrogen producers, consumers, and connective infrastructure while supporting the production, storage, delivery, and end-use of clean hydrogen.
“It’s a good opportunity for the IBEW,” Richards said, adding that planning for the hydrogen project is still in the early stages.
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