NextEra Energy plans to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2045, saying it can do so without using offsets thanks to renewable hydrogen.
The Juno Beach, Florida-based company wants to convert more than two-thirds of its natural gas power plants to run on hydrogen. This is touted as one of the “biggest bets yet to make hydrogen central to the energy landscape,” in a recent Bloomberg article.
“In my opinion, when NextEra moves, you want to be careful,” said Mike Hopkins, CEO of Bakken Energy. “It’s usually very indicative of where we are in the hydrogen space. It can be a very good use of hydrogen as a means of decarbonization and I think it’s just another big step in that evolution of development. of the clean hydrogen and trucking market.
This hydrogen or “fuel” would be produced by renewable energies such as solar and wind, using devices called electrolyzers. Hydrogen does not release carbon dioxide when burned, which is the main reason for this change.
NextEra’s future goal is to use its technology to be green hydrogen producers, with the hope that it would then be used by other industries, including transportation.
While there are concerns that this will slow adoption on the transportation side due to growing demand for power plants, Hopkins believes it will do the opposite and further accelerate and facilitate the adoption of these practices in other industries. .
“When it comes to decarbonization in trucking, because of the limited options relative to power generation, this is a great value proposition for the trucking industry,” Hopkins said.
But despite these goals, there are challenges. Similar to those associated with electric vehicles (EVs), the biggest challenges include the technology and infrastructure and financing of these elements.
The process of transporting hydrogen is dangerous and would require extensive pipeline inspections to ensure no leaks are present since the gas is extremely flammable.
“The more hydrogen you use, the more infrastructure you will develop, which continues to be the missing link here,” Hopkins said. “We know how to produce it. That’s for sure. More and more people are learning to consume it, but there is still an infrastructure gap.
If the infrastructure is properly funded and built, hydrogen could be a huge asset in the transport industry in the years to come, including vehicle batteries and power and electricity generation for charging stations. charging electric vehicles.
NextEra is committed not only to adopting renewable hydrogen practices, but also to getting involved in and encouraging infrastructure plans in the United States – both absolutely necessary for the transition to renewable hydrogen.
“When they talk about wanting to be involved in infrastructure, I suspect it’s because they want to move hydrogen into other markets — markets like long-haul trucking,” Hopkins said.