Passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in August 2022 was intended to unleash a wave of clean-energy initiatives, from hydrogen and renewable fuels to electric vehicles and large-scale carbon-capture projects, all part of the Biden administration’s plans to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and move the U.S. closer to a net-zero economy. But while billions in federal financing and tax credits have helped move many projects forward, they can only advance as fast as permitting, regulations and economic reality will allow. In today’s RBN blog, we look at the surge in proposed carbon-capture projects since passage of the IRA, where they are in the review process, and how the pace of permitting at the federal level compares with the states that have primacy over their own sequestration wells. 

Rising global interest in clean ammonia — plus the potential for earning generous federal tax credits — spurred a host of project announcements over the past couple of years, with the first new production capacity slated to start up as soon as 2025. But reality is setting in regarding the pace of clean-ammonia demand growth and the financial, regulatory and other challenges of developing complicated, big-dollar projects, particularly those involving carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). In today’s RBN blog, we provide an update on the major clean ammonia proposals we’ve been tracking. 

The intermittent nature of renewable energy is a well-documented thorn in the side of efforts to decarbonize the power grid, especially with more wind and solar generation coming online every year. But while those sources of clean energy are not available all the time, it’s also true that they can sometimes produce more power than transmission lines or a power grid can handle during other periods, leading to curtailments. An increasingly important tool that can lessen the impact of both problems is power storage. In today’s RBN blog, we’ll address the limitations of today’s storage options and look at how long-duration energy storage (LDES) could play a critical role in the years ahead.

The Biden administration has placed some big bets on clean hydrogen, seeing it as a replacement fuel for some hard-to-abate industries and putting it at the heart of its long-term decarbonization efforts. But while clean hydrogen has significant long-term potential — backed by major subsidies, including the 45V production tax credit (PTC) — figuring out a path to a greater role in the U.S. energy mix is more complicated than it might seem. The proposed rules around the tax credit have stirred up a hornet’s nest worth of criticism from those who think the guidance might ultimately do more harm than good. In today’s RBN blog, we’ll preview our latest Drill Down Report on the incentives — primarily the 45V tax credit — intended to expand the clean hydrogen industry and examine some of the barriers to significant growth. 

When the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was passed into law in August 2022, it earned near-unanimous acclaim from longtime supporters of renewable energy and decarbonization efforts. Industry types also approved of the bill’s focus on incentives to fuel new developments. One of its most ambitious elements was creation of the 45V production tax credit (PTC) for clean hydrogen, a central part of the Biden administration’s efforts to build a clean-energy economy. But while the PTC may have a significant impact on the U.S. energy landscape over the long run, the December 2023 rollout of the proposed rulemaking has generated no small amount of criticism. In today’s RBN blog, we’ll lay out some of the changes that some say should be included in the final rulemaking to help the clean-hydrogen economy make a quick break from the starting gate instead of getting left at the back of the pack. 

The federal government’s Hydrogen Production Tax Credit (PTC), also known as 45V, provides the highest incentives for hydrogen produced using clean sources of power generation, like wind and solar. That might seem like great news for current and potential hydrogen producers looking to take advantage of the credit, since the U.S. has added significant renewable generation capacity in the last several years, but the reality is much different. In today’s RBN blog, we’ll explain how “additionality” fits into the “three pillars” of clean hydrogen, how it would be calculated under the proposed guidance, and some ways the rules might be adjusted to give hydrogen producers and power generators a little more flexibility. 

The Biden administration has placed some big bets on clean hydrogen, seeing it as a replacement fuel for some hard-to-abate industries and putting it at the heart of its long-term decarbonization efforts. All of these bets are backed by a brand-new tax credit. But the goal isn’t just to drive production of more hydrogen — it’s also to make hydrogen in a specific way, with measurable decreases in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. That means producing hydrogen that qualifies for the tax credit is going to be a lot easier said than done. The proposed rules include a concept called deliverability — one of the “three pillars” of clean hydrogen — that adds further challenges to producers hoping to cash in on the tax credit and puts into further peril any number of potential projects. In today’s RBN blog, we’ll explain how deliverability works, how it fits into the proposed rules, and the challenges it will pose for hydrogen producers and power generators alike. 

If the U.S. is to significantly grow its production of electric vehicles (EVs), it’s going to need a robust domestic supply chain that includes critical metals and minerals. The Biden administration has previously provided billions in funding made available through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) to help establish new clean-energy industries, an approach it is repeating with EV battery manufacturing and its goal of having EVs account for half of all new-car sales by 2030. In today’s RBN blog, we look at the $3.5 billion set aside to fund investments in the EV battery supply chain and increase domestic manufacturing. 

Discussions and debates around the carbon-capture industry have been everywhere in recent years, from the federal incentives designed to spur its growth and the role it might play in decarbonization efforts to the technical challenges and economic headwinds that add uncertainty to its long-term outlook. And while all of those are important topics worthy of future conversation, none of those potential projects are going to happen without somewhere to put all that carbon dioxide (CO2). The wells used for permanent CO2 sequestration are largely approved at the federal level by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) but a few states have gained control — aka “primacy” — over the permitting process. In today’s RBN blog, we explain what it means to have primacy, why it has become an increasingly important goal in recent years, and the potential benefits that come with it. 

The long-delayed rules around the federal government’s Hydrogen Production Tax Credit (PTC), also known as 45V, have been the subject of heated debate (and lobbying) since passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in August 2022. While some industry groups argued for looser guidelines around the PTC that would allow the low-carbon hydrogen industry to grow quickly, others called for a stricter set of rules from the start, arguing that an approach that was too lax would lead to an increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In today’s RBN blog, we’ll look at how those newly published rules rely on the so-called “three pillars” of clean hydrogen, how they prioritize production of green hydrogen at the expense of its blue and pink varieties, and explain the rules around temporal matching and why it might be hard to hit the administration’s 2028 target date for implementation. 

It’s been a tough couple of months for developers of large-scale, multi-state carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) projects, which have been stung by widespread public opposition and often hamstrung by state and local regulations. But while those factors helped lead one developer to pull the plug on its project and another to push back its schedule by a couple of years, that’s not to say there isn’t a path forward for some projects. In today’s RBN blog, we examine why Wolf Carbon Solutions’ targeted approach and a pipeline conversion by Tallgrass Energy could be the most likely CCS projects to reach operational status. 

We’ve spent a lot of time this year looking at the global move to decarbonize and explaining why there isn’t going to be a straight line leading directly to abundant carbon-free power and a net-zero world. That might be the way a lot of people would like to see it go, but that’s not the reality we’re now facing. All sorts of obstacles have popped up, indicating that the energy industry’s trilemma of availability, reliability and affordability not only clash with each other on occasion, they can also conflict with economic and environmental priorities. Nowhere is that more evident than in the U.S., where small-scale battles over the clean-energy transition are playing out all over the map. In today’s RBN blog, we discuss highlights from our newly released Drill Down Report on the ways the nation’s clean-energy push is playing out at the state level. 

If it seems like the push for decarbonization has suddenly picked up the pace lately, Michigan provides proof. Home to the Big 3 automakers and for many the symbolic heart of U.S. manufacturing, its efforts to move away from fossil fuels have long been met with skepticism and resistance. But changing attitudes about climate change and renewable power — and full Democratic control of the state government for the first time in 40 years — have led to a swift about-face in the state’s energy policy. In today’s RBN blog, we examine Michigan’s plans to accelerate its transition away from coal-fired power and the long-term challenges that come with it. 

The push to decarbonize frequently focuses on the transportation sector, which is responsible for the largest share of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. That has led to increased blending of ethanol into gasoline and the development of several alternative fuels, most notably renewable diesel (RD) and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). But as production of those two fuels accelerates, an often-overlooked byproduct of their creation is beginning to attract more attention: renewable naphtha. In today’s RBN blog, we explain the similarities and differences between traditional naphtha and renewable naphtha, look at how renewable naphtha is produced, and show how it can be used to help refiners, petrochemical companies and hydrogen producers meet their sustainability goals and reduce the carbon intensity (CI) of their products.

It’s been a rough few weeks for the offshore wind industry, highlighted by Ørsted’s decision to cancel two high-profile projects in the Northeast: Ocean Wind 1 and Ocean Wind 2. The industry continues to be plagued by a host of problems around inflation, the supply chain and permitting, leading some developers to write-down losses and question whether their projects remain economically viable. But it hasn’t all been bad news, as other projects have been able to move forward and hit major milestones. In today’s RBN blog, we look at the recent cancellations, some key projects that have been approved or are advancing, and what we’ll be watching for over the next several months.