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Task Force Recommends Regional Hydrogen Center; Discusses Delivery of Strategic Initiatives

The COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force continues developing vision for social equity and economic growth in the DMV, underpinned by emerging technology

PRESS RELEASE

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 29, 2021 – Connected DMV’s COVID-19 Strategic Renewal Task Force held its seventh meeting on Thursday, adopting a recommendation to proactively address climate change through the establishment of a regional Hydrogen Center that affirms Greater Washington as a leader in the hydrogen economy. Task Force members agreed that collaboration across borders and disciplines to tackle climate change, using hydrogen energy, is a national and regional imperative, and by utilizing the significant assets of the DMV region, an achievable goal.

The Task Force also weighed updates from regional leaders on health, security, and tourism across Greater Washington to inform their continued collaborative efforts and the ongoing delivery of region-wide initiatives.

The meeting was facilitated by Task Force member, Kelly M. Schulz, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce.

“I was very pleased to facilitate today’s meeting on behalf of the state of Maryland and appreciate the time and dedication each of the task force members has put into moving forward key initiatives that will make our region stronger and more competitive,” said Secretary Schulz. “Having a unified voice though Connected DMV helps us to collectively address the challenges and opportunities that impact our region, and I am proud that Maryland is a very active participant.”

Dr. KR Sridhar, founder, chairman, and CEO of Bloom Energy, addressed the Task Force to cast a vision for the nation’s zero-carbon future. Dr. Sunita Satyapal, Director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, also addressed the Task Force to discuss hydrogen as an enabler for clean and renewable energy sources.

Greater Washington Hydrogen Center

The 51-member Task Force—comprised of regional leaders from the public and private sectors, academia, and community—approved a recommendation for a six-month effort to define the strategy for a Hydrogen Center in Greater Washington and the plan to implement a hydrogen economy demonstration project in the DMV. Establishing a Hydrogen Center is expected to enable our region to aggressively address climate change, including its disproportionate effects on disadvantaged populations, and to lead the development of a hydrogen economy that will produce job opportunities for people of all education levels.

The Center will bring together a cohesive hydrogen ecosystem to maximize our region’s capabilities, resources, and assets. The Center will serve as a national hub for accelerating the hydrogen economy by developing and offering expertise in regulatory requirements and incentives, aggregating funding sources, developing a skilled workforce, and enabling hydrogen projects, all with a strong imbedded emphasis on economic development and social equity. The Center will also create and lead a hydrogen-based demonstration project to show the efficacy and benefits of integrating hydrogen into the DMV’s regional energy future. This project will succeed through the collaboration of a broad range of market leading businesses, progressive policy-makers, and forward-thinking educational institutions in Greater Washington.

“Addressing climate change in a meaningful way is a challenge for all of our citizens. Among President Biden’s first actions as President was the restoration of the United States’ position in the fight against climate change, underscoring the importance of immediate action," shared Task Force member Bob Buchanan, President, the 2030 Group. “Under the leadership of Connected DMV, our region will be the beneficiary of a unique hydrogen initiative which can show how practical, achievable and effective climate change can be addressed. The National Capital Region can and should take a leadership position in the deployment of this key initiative in our fight against climate change.”

"We can now produce extremely efficient energy using hydrogen," said Dr. KR Sridhar, founder, chairman, and CEO, Bloom Energy. "This is not only good for the planet and for the health of our residents, but also imperative for companies and industries that are seeking to adapt and survive in our ever-changing world. However, in order to be successful, we must ensure that no one is left behind and all can realize and participate in the benefits of an integrated hydrogen economy."

Over the next six months, the Task Force will continue to release actionable recommendations and drive the delivery of strategic initiatives that will complement and help connect the efforts of regional governments, enabling a robust and durable marketplace for innovators, small and large businesses, and other organizations in our nation’s capital region.