Canadian Manufacturing

Federal plan is to increase hydrogen use and focus on regional hubs

Hydrogen is considered a likely way to decarbonize industries that are hard to electrify, such as heavy transport or machinery.

December 16, 2020  The Canadian Press

The federal government has introduced a plan to greatly increase the use of hydrogen as a low-carbon fuel to help meet Canada’s climate targets.

“We are announcing a big first step for hydrogen in Canada,” said Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan. “This strategy provides a challenge to all of us — to make Canada the top producer of low-carbon hydrogen to the world.”

Hydrogen is considered a likely way to decarbonize industries that are hard to electrify, such as heavy transport or machinery.

O’Regan said the clean-burning fuel could provide up to 30 per cent of Canada’s energy needs by 2050. He said it could be an industry worth $50 billion and could provide 350,000 jobs.

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“Hydrogen could transform almost every sector of our economy.”

The plan, released on Dec. 16, stretches out to 2050. It proposes that over the next five years regional hubs be created across the country in areas where hydrogen fits local needs or expertise in the fuel already exists.

The Edmonton area has access to abundant natural gas, successful facilities that store carbon underground and pipelines to move both the fuel and waste gas.

Hydro developments in British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec could provide cheap, clean electricity for green hydrogen plants.

The strategy is to be funded by $1.5 billion announced last week as part of the government’s climate change strategy.