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Got to Get You Into My Life - Hydrogen Markets Looking For Regulatory Attention

When it comes to hydrogen regulation, there are two buckets. The first includes safety and environmental regulations related to building and operating facilities that produce, transport, store, and consume hydrogen. There’s not much mystery here, just a multitude of rules from various organizations in place to cover the physical side of the hydrogen industry. That said, as hydrogen use is expected to grow over time, this bucket of regulation is likely to expand and maybe morph. The second bucket includes rules that are designed to provide market structure and incentives for hydrogen. This bucket is mostly empty, though, and for hydrogen markets to succeed, it will need to be filled up. Put another way, hydrogen needs rules and incentives that make it clear the powers-that-be want hydrogen to be around and thriving. In today’s blog, we look at existing hydrogen regulations and highlights the gas’s need for further regulatory incentives and clarity.

We’ve talked a lot about hydrogen production over the last few weeks, particularly in our last blog, You Can Make It If You Try, where we summed up what we’ve learned so far on the production front. We’ve also covered the basics of understanding hydrogen’s fuel content and conversion factors in blogs like Help and I Did It. For the most part, we have tried to stay out of some of the murkier areas of the developing hydrogen market and just lay the groundwork for understanding this fuel. But we’re getting to the point in our “Hydrogen 101” course where some of the more difficult topics need to be tackled. One of those areas is regulation, whether it’s a discussion of safety and environmental rules or the incentives needed to develop a flourishing hydrogen market.

While there are at least some established rules and policies in place regarding hydrogen, in many ways the regulation of hydrogen markets remains a work in progress. When emerging energy market regulation comes up, we often lean on our friends at Eversheds Sutherland. This was the case a few years back when the condensate export markets were developing, and we see some parallels between that situation and what’s happening with hydrogen now. Which is why today’s blog is a collaboration between RBN and our friends at Eversheds Sutherland, particularly today’s co-authors, David McCullough and Nicholas Hillman.

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