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North Carolina's Tillis, Budd back hydrogen hub proposal

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) speaks to the crowd at Rep. Ted Budd's election night watch party in Winston-Salem, N.C., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.
Chuck Burton
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) speaks to the crowd at Rep. Ted Budd's election night watch party in Winston-Salem, N.C., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022.

North Carolina's Republican U.S. Senators have joined a bipartisan group that supports building a hub for hydrogen energy in the southeast.

Hydrogen has the potential to be a limitless source of clean energy. The 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $8 billion to create 10 hydrogen hubs around the country.

“The production, processing, delivery, storage and end-use of clean hydrogen, including innovative uses in the industrial sector, are crucial to DOE’s strategy for achieving President Biden’s goal of a 100% clean electrical grid by 2035 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050,” the U.S. Department of Energy says.

Southeastern utilities — including Duke Energy, Southern Company, and Dominion Energy — have formed a coalition to attract one of the hubs to the southeast.

North Carolina's Republican U.S. senators — Thom Tillis and Ted Budd — support that effort. They joined their Democratic colleagues from Georgia, and GOP senators from South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee in writing a letter to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

The senators say the hub “presents a unique opportunity to grow the Southeast’s economy, strengthen U.S. energy independence, lower costs for households and businesses, and continue to develop the region as a clean energy leader.”

The Department of Energy will soon select sites for the hubs.

"We now are going over those more detailed applications,” Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk told a Senate committee in February. “April 7 is when those are due... We're going to get the funding out by the end of this year."

Bradley George is WUNC's AM reporter. A North Carolina native, his public radio career has taken him to Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville and most recently WUSF in Tampa. While there, he reported on the COVID-19 pandemic and was part of the station's Murrow award winning coverage of the 2020 election. Along the way, he has reported for NPR, Marketplace, The Takeaway, and the BBC World Service. Bradley is a graduate of Guilford College, where he majored in Theatre and German.
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