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Select Committee on Building a Zero-Carbon Hydrogen Economy

California has set ambitious climate goals to achieve a 40% reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions below 1990 levels by 2030. In 2022, California went further by setting a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045, and a goal to ensure that emissions resulting from human activities are reduced 85% below 1990 levels.

For the energy sector specifically, California has established a goal of powering our electricity grid with 60% renewables by 2030, 90% renewable and zero-carbon electricity by the end of 2035, 95% renewable and zero-carbon electricity by the end of 2040, and 100% renewable and zero-carbon electricity by the end of 2045. Meeting these climate goals will require sustained effort and focus, in addition to monumental shifts in our economy.

As can be seen on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) GHG Emissions Inventory website the three largest contributors to the state's emission are the transportation sector, the industrial sector, and the electricity sector. Increasing the amount of electricity generated by renewables – such as, wind, solar, and geothermal – will be important in both reducing our emissions in the electricity sector, as well as in other sectors as they shift towards electrification.

However, as California makes progress towards its emissions goals policymakers will be faced with a growing challenge on how to decarbonize sectors that cannot be, or are not easily, electrified. Hydrogen provides a potential solution for hard to decarbonize as a replacement for fossil fuels, and as a potential long-term energy storage solution.

What Is Hydrogen?

Hydrogen is the lightest element known and in a standard condition is an odorless, colorless, non-toxic gas (H2). Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. On Earth, sources of naturally occurring H2 have been identified, however it is found most abundantly in the form of water (H2O). Production methods vary, but hydrogen is most commonly produced via separation from water, fossil fuels, or biomass. As an energy carrier it has a high energy content by weight, but has the lowest energy content by volume (four times less than gasoline). Given this fact, the amount of physical space needed to store hydrogen is much higher than existing fossil fuels.

The Select Committee's Work

The Select Committee on Building a Zero-Carbon Hydrogen Economy was established to examine the potential of Hydrogen as a part to meet California's ambitious energy goals. Below are links to the hearings and written materials provided to the public and members of the Committee. If you have specific questions regarding this Committee, please contact:

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

9 a.m. - State Capitol, Room 126

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

1:30 p.m. - State Capitol, Room 126

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Upon adjournment of Session - State Capitol, Room 126