Gov. Beshear working to bring hydrogen investments, jobs to Kentucky

Bipartisan group of governors form Midwest Hydrogen Coalition to advance hydrogen development across the region
FILE - Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks about the increases in COVID-19 cases in the state and...
FILE - Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks about the increases in COVID-19 cases in the state and the opening day of the Kentucky State Legislature special session in Frankfort, Ky., Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 9:16 AM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WBKO) - Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday he was working to bring hydrogen investments and jobs to Kentucky by working with fellow governors in six states to advance a hydrogen market, supply chain and workforce development across the Midwest region.

Beshear joins governors of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin in creating a Midwest Hydrogen Coalition.

The coalition provides a regional framework for a strong hydrogen market that will spur “new industries and good-paying jobs, promote energy resilience and improve public health by reducing pollution,” according to a release.

“Kentucky’s robust infrastructure, strong chemical and manufacturing base, along with our leadership in the automotive and logistics sectors position us as a natural location for economic development in hydrogen,” said Beshear. “We are looking forward to working with our Midwest and local industry partners to build a hydrogen economy in Kentucky.”

In 2021, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky announced a $461 million upgrade to its Georgetown manufacturing plant, which starting next year will begin assembling integrated dual fuel cell modules destined for use in hydrogen-powered, heavy-duty commercial trucks.

The state’s Regional Hydrogen Hub Workgroup also was formed earlier this year to develop projects around the use of hydrogen, such as natural gas blending or transportation fuel.

“This strategy will move the state forward by connecting job creators, energy providers and environmental stewards with communities to create a sustainable energy infrastructure,” said Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman.

In July, Kentucky Interstates 64, 65 and 75 were approved by the Federal Highway Administration as hydrogen transportation corridors, supporting the development of hydrogen fueling infrastructure on those key freight corridors.

“The automotive industry is undergoing fundamental change,” said Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray. “We’re looking to the future, and alternative fuels will offer consumers more choices to power their drives. Kentucky, already becoming the capital of electric vehicle battery production, and now with three interstates designated as hydrogen fuel corridors, is ideally positioned for a leadership role.”