Insight Brief: Clean Hydrogen for the Electric System
Free Research

Insight Brief: Clean Hydrogen for the Electric System

  • Electrolytic hydrogen is promising for U.S. power sector decarbonization–if it is produced, stored, and used in ways that decrease net GHG emissions
  • Electric utilities can help supply renewable energy for clean electrolytic hydrogen production
  • Hydrogen’s best application in electric system decarbonization is long-duration energy storage

Clean electrolytic hydrogen has emerged as an option to help decarbonize electric power generation. While this is a nascent approach and industry, its decarbonization potential has garnered a rush of U.S. policy support.

Electric utilities will play a key role in managing increased electricity loads if electrolytic hydrogen production scales up as forecasted. Although few electric utilities may yet be grappling with nuances of electrolytic load growth– or have a near-term need for the long-duration energy storage services that hydrogen can offer– now is the time to begin examining the topic and setting up a glide path for anticipated deployment in the 2030s.

To clarify the hydrogen opportunity relative to U.S. electricity system decarbonization, Smart Electric Power Alliance and Energy Innovation collaborated to produce this Insight Brief: Clean Hydrogen for the Electric System.

The brief explores hydrogen and its implications for electric utilities, grid operators, policymakers and technology providers. Key topics include:

  • Policy drivers and key electricity system dynamics shaping the clean hydrogen industry in 2024
  • Potential future impacts on electricity load growth, consumer electricity rates, grid reliability, and communities and the environment
  • Resources and sample questions that the industry can use when planning community engagement
  • And four recommendations to help electric utilities set the foundation for success


Ann Collier, Senior Manager, Emerging Technology
Dan Esposito, Manager, Electricity Program for Energy Innovation
Lakin Garth, Director, Research and Industry Strategy, Emerging Technologies
Trevor Gibson, Senior Analyst, Research and Industry Strategy

Hydrogen Insight Brief Series