Another Exciting Victory! California Selected for Regional Clean Hydrogen (H2) Hub

We want to share some exciting news! It is time to congratulate the “ARCHES” partnership – a public-private hydrogen (H2) hub consortium in California that was just invited by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to negotiate for up to $1.2 billion to develop renewable, green hydrogen production and distribution projects up and down the state of California. Together with California's world-leading electric vehicle program, this can lead to a comprehensive zero-emission transportation system throughout the state!

As Californians, ARCHES will enable us to meet two major environmental priorities regarding the ARCHES proposal: abating climate change and potentially ending diesel air pollution. 

Renewable hydrogen, when used with fuel cell technologies, may be the only alternative that can do both.

Renewable green Hydrogen (H2), when used in fuel cells is a zero-emission source of power that creates the opportunity to reduce, perhaps even eliminate, the use of diesel fuel--a dangerous source of pollution that causes lung disease, heart disease, asthma, and cancer, devastating low-income communities along goods movement corridors.

Hydrogen has many applications in heavy-duty transportation--heavy-duty long-haul trucks, locomotives, airplanes, ocean-going vessels, off-road construction equipment--applications that can not easily be electrified.

Click here to learn more about OCED’s H2Hubs program and click here to read the White House’s H2Hubs press release. It is important to understand that this is the first in a multi-step process by which ARCHES can be awarded as much as $1.2 billion for the creation of a green Hydrogen Hub in California.

Move LA played a pivotal role in developing the application for this award, bringing together key allies in the Labor movement with government and nonprofit partners. The results are made clear in the White House announcement on the award to California, which is “committed to requiring Project Labor Agreements for all projects connected to the hub, which will expand opportunities for disadvantaged communities and create an expected 220,000 direct jobs—130,000 in construction jobs and 90,000 permanent jobs.”

In 2022, Move LA began working with the AFL-CIO Working for America Institute and the International Trade Union Confederation’s Just Transition Centre, establishing a ‘Labor Table’ with affiliates of the LA/OC Building and Construction Trades Council to discuss the need for and a strategy to achieve a just transition to clean energy for a healthier climate and cleaner air. We emphasized that such a transition could also provide justice to current workers and their families by producing good-paying unionized jobs with benefits utilizing skills similar to those used in the incumbent fossil fuel industries.

We also assisted in creating a space for a broader group of Labor leaders and environmental justice organizations to have a conversation about the challenges of creating family-sustaining jobs as our economy transitions off fossil fuels; a vital conversation for both members of Labor unions and communities impacted by toxic pollution.

In 2023, the “ARCHES” partnership (Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems) was formalized to accelerate the development and deployment of clean, renewable H2 projects and infrastructure. Founding partners include the University of California, the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-BIZ), Renewables 100, the LA/OC Building Trades, and the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (AFL-CIO).

The ARCHES Collaborative submitted a grant for a U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Hub grant in April 2023. The application has strong labor and community benefits in the entire county, with a PLA on all projects, which will result in 220,000 direct jobs and robust community benefits that recognize historic injustices to local communities impacted by pollution.

Official support for ARCHES application to the US Department of Energy came from the California Energy Commission, California Department of Transportation, California Air Resources Board, IBEW Local 11 & NECA Los Angeles, the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Air Products, the cities of Carson, Lancaster, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Lodi, and Riverside, and dozens of others.

We were honored to have played a small but pivotal role in ensuring the success of this effort. The work continues and we are clear-eyed about the challenges—from addressing technology impediments to reducing the price of hydrogen, to ensuring real and lasting community and labor benefits, and, most of all, garnering widespread support for the application from communities most burdened by diesel air pollution and most likely to feel the early adverse effects of climate change.