A couple of weeks ago I read where the West Coast Electric Highway was now open for business, starting in Oregon and the plans are for it to reach all the way to the southern tip of California. This got me to thinking about whatever happened to the West Coast Hydrogen Highway.
For a while, under Governor Schwarzenegger the state of California was building hydrogen fueling station right and left. Then of course, there was the over-regulation that slowed down the growth of the stations. The California legislature decided in their infinite wisdom that one third of the power consumed by hydrogen fueling stations had to come from renewable resources, a burden placed on the manufacturing of no other kinds of fuel.
Gasoline, Diesel, LPG, Ethanol, nor CNG have this kind of restriction placed upon them. And of course the electric chargers for the West Coast Electric Highway also do not have this restriction placed upon them.
However, here comes the good part. California Governor Jerry Brown has decided to revive the hydrogen fueling station program. And, here’s the kicker. He wants the big oil companies to pay for it.
According to the Mercury News, “Oil companies also insist that they simply don’t want to be in the hydrogen business.
“In a recent letter to the air board, John Braeutigam, vice president for strategic development of Valero, said the rule would force refiners to ‘directly compete with their own core business. He added: ‘As the nation’s largest independent refiner, and second-largest producer of corn ethanol, Valero objects to being forced to fund its own demise.’”
So, there you have it. After all of the dog and pony shows and half-assed efforts from the oil companies trying to do a little PR that they are indeed interested in selling hydrogen, comes a direct admission. The oil companies don’t want to be in the hydrogen business as it would contribute to their own demise.
At least now, all cards are on the table.