ASU and Utilities Pursue a Carbon Neutral Economy
Four Arizona energy providers and the state’s three public universities are forming a new interdisciplinary coalition with the goal of achieving a carbon-neutral economy in Arizona.
Faced with the complexity of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in all economic sectors and the urgency of responding to the climate crisis, this coalition will combine its expertise to launch a new center to begin work immediately on strategies and solutions, according to a press release. Release.
Leading professionals from Arizona Public Service Co., Salt River Project, Tucson Electric Power, and Southwest Gas, as well as Arizona State University, University of Arizona, and Northern Arizona University , will play a critical leadership role in helping Arizona explore strategic options and pathways that move the state toward a prosperous, carbon-neutral economy.
To begin, the coalition has created a new ASU-based center called the “Arizona Center for a Carbon Neutral Economy,” housed within the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory on the ASU Tempe campus. Among its first projects, the center will pursue the creation of a regional center for clean hydrogen.
Hydrogen can fuel chemical reactions that release clean energy and only produce water – H2O, no CO2. This means that much of the energy used to create pure hydrogen can essentially be “stored” in the gas itself and used to provide carbon-free energy or raw materials on demand. Harnessing this potential could help reduce carbon emissions in many sectors of the economy.
In late October 2021, the U.S. Congress passed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which the President signed into law in mid-November 2021. The act establishes program directions and funding to establish centers clean hydrogen regions, which the coalition will seek. The clean hydrogen hub, while still fully defined, will include hydrogen producers, consumers and connected infrastructure so that supply and demand are synchronized and buffered appropriately with storage.
A successful Regional Clean Hydrogen Center will help tackle the state’s hard-to-reduce carbon dioxide emissions, as well as grow Arizona’s economy, attract new businesses and create jobs. high quality. When fully operational, a new hub will help support a reliable and resilient electricity grid, provide clean energy to the electricity, transport and industrial sectors, and potentially create economic development opportunities in communities that are negatively impacted by the closure of fossil fuel power plants.
Involving these communities in the process is an essential part of the coalition’s work. By engaging a wide range of diverse stakeholders, the group will develop a common strategy to create a new hydrogen ecosystem and industry in Arizona. Stakeholders will be part of a collaborative network that directly involves communities, tribes, businesses, universities, government agencies, non-profit organizations and other interested parties in the process.
Collectively defining the hub’s vision, governance and organizational structure requires a deeper dive into the myriad assets and resources available in the state and that effort is already underway.
Arizona is one of the sunniest states in the country, with significant undeveloped land available and abundant clean energy resources.
It has the country’s largest nuclear power plant, energy providers committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, innovative world-class universities, an established and growing industrial base, and a healthy environment for innovation. and start-ups. These resources, along with the region’s highly skilled workforce, can be used to produce, move, store and use hydrogen. While Arizona is currently a net importer of energy, these assets could help the state become an energy exporter, strengthening its economy and helping others achieve their clean energy goals.