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A $3 billion green hydrogen storage hub planned for Mississippi would be 10 times larger than any other project of its kind in the U.S., and one of the largest in the world, according to the startup behind the project.

Hy Stor Energy announced a partnership with Connor, Clark & Lunn Infrastructure to develop, commercialize, and operate the Mississippi Clean Hydrogen Hub, which is expected to produce an estimated 110 million kilograms of green hydrogen annually its first phase and store more than 70 million kg of green hydrogen in underground salt caverns.

If approved, the project would begin commercial service by 2025, the company said.

“The biggest challenge the energy transition faces today is how to bridge the gap to allow renewables to replace fossil fuel electric power generation safely and reliably,” Hy Stor Energy CEO Laura L. Luce said. “We believe the approach we’re taking in Mississippi will become the blueprint for future green hydrogen projects that not only address the energy transition challenges we face but also bring new jobs, economic revitalization, and low-cost energy to communities in the region. We see this as an important way of advancing U.S. climate leadership.”

The companies selected Mississippi for the green hydrogen hub because of its business environment, naturally occurring underground salt formations, and access to existing infrastructure, like interstate gas pipelines and electric transmission lines.

“We’re excited to welcome Hy Stor Energy and hydrogen innovators to Mississippi,” said Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives Philip Gunn. “Their investment and eventual success here will improve workforce development, bring high-paying jobs to our state, and encourage other businesses to invest in the talent and infrastructure we’ve built together.”


Read more: Europe’s offshore wind to green hydrogen plan won’t work for the US, report finds


In the U.S., 95% of hydrogen is produced using natural gas, according to the Dept. of Energy. So-called “blue hydrogen” incorporates carbon capture and storage, though recent studies suggest the practice could produce even more carbon emissions in heat generation than using natural gas alone.

Long term, hydrogen produced using clean-powered electrolyzers can serve as a backbone fuel for grid stability, but the volume of green hydrogen produced worldwide is still very small due to a lack of infrastructure and clean power needed for production.

The Biden administration, to its part, is prioritizing research of carbon capture and green hydrogen production to fuel industrial facilities, heavy-duty trucks, and cargo ships — areas recognized as difficult to decarbonize.

The International Energy Agency released its Global Hydrogen Review 2021 on Monday, calling on world leaders to rapidly invest in hydrogen projects to support the clean energy transition.

study by the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University advocated for investments in the U.S. natural gas pipeline system to support the eventual shift from natural gas to cleaner, low-to-no carbon fuels. Not for several more decades will zero-carbon fuels be ready to replace natural gas as the backbone of the energy mix, the authors wrote, and pipeline upgrades can support the transportation of hydrogen and biogas.

While some renewable energy and environmental advocates fear investments in fossil fuel infrastructure will delay the clean energy transition, and enable some of the world’s largest polluters, pipeline upgrades could provide the best chance of swapping out natural gas as the backbone of the energy system.

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Record-high natural gas prices are fueling an energy crunch ahead of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, leading to power shortages in parts of the world.

Anne-Sophie Corbeau, an energy policy researcher at the University of Columbia, believes the ongoing energy crisis could affect renewables and the broader energy transition in a couple of ways.

On one hand, developing countries eyeing a switch from coal to natural gas to support higher penetration of renewables may be dissuaded by higher gas prices. On the other, the energy crunch could be proving once-and-for-all that natural gas is losing its role as a transition fuel, and that it’s time to rapidly scale renewables and battery storage for resiliency and reliability.

“Ensuring that energy, including natural gas, remains affordable and available during the energy transition is likely to be a key concern for policymakers (at the COP26 United Nations climate summit),” Corbeau wrote in a commentary on the energy crisis. “As nations move to decarbonize their energy system and demand for each fossil fuel eventually peaks, the issue for policymakers across the world is how to avoid significant mismatches between supply and demand, develop a regulatory toolbox to reduce the exposure to price spikes, and ensure there is no power shortage, and plan ahead to make future energy systems climate-resilient.”

Corbeau added that governments must anticipate more frequent extreme weather risks and the impact on variable renewable energy systems.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects U.S. natural gas prices to remain elevated between October and March — the highest winter price since 2007-2008.

EIA forecasts LNG prices will begin decreasing in the first quarter of 2022.

Generally speaking, higher gas prices are an accelerant to renewables, according to Michael Webber, Josey Centennial Professor in Energy Resources at the University of Texas at Austin.

“But it’s also a boost for coal, which is tricky,” Webber said in an interview on Wednesday. “High gas prices generally help accelerate the adoption of renewables and I think the wind and solar people are happy about what’s happening right now, frankly.”

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reduce hurry and wait syndrome_hero

 

Have you ever been asked to drop everything to complete a seemingly urgent task, and then found that the task wasn’t so urgent after all?

Not long ago, one of our clients gave us three days to put together a proposal to help with a very large and complex reorganization. Although we had been talking about the possibility of working on this project for months, the client suddenly felt that it was time to get started. We didn’t want to miss the opportunity, so we put in some late nights and did what was needed to craft a reasonably good document. And then we waited.

Two weeks later, the client sent a note saying that she hadn’t yet had time to read the proposal but would get to it soon. And in the meantime, she was still trying to secure agreement on the reorganization with her boss and other key corporate function heads.

Obviously, something doesn’t add up with this picture. Why did the client give us only three days and convey such a sense of urgency if she wasn’t really ready to move forward? Was she being dishonest or was she deluding herself about the situation — or was something else going on?

Having seen many variations on this “hurry up and wait” dynamic over the past few years let me suggest a possible explanation.  I’ll also offer some ideas about what to do if you are falling into this trap, whether it’s as the perpetrator or the victim.

The starting point for understanding this issue is the dramatic acceleration of today’s business culture. Because we live in a world of continual, real-time communication from anywhere in the world, we’ve gotten used to assuming that everything happens instantaneously. As such, it’s almost unthinkable for managers today to give an assignment (whether to a consultant or subordinate) and say, “take your time” or “think about what it will take and let me know when you can get to it.” Instead, the almost unconscious default position is to push for rapid action.

Intersecting with this drive for speed is the reality that many organizations have slimmed down over the last few years. But while they have reduced costs and taken out layers of managers and staff, they often haven’t eliminated the work that those people were doing. So the surviving managers are expected to do more and more, and do it faster and faster.

The result of trying to drive more work through fewer people, and at greater speed, is a jamming of the queue.  There is simply no way to get everything done in the accelerated time frames that many managers expect.  So while their intentions are to move quickly on things, the reality is that you can only force so much work through the eye of the needle.

The problem is that some tasks or assignments really do need to be carried out quickly. But unless they are treated differently, they get caught up in the same bottleneck with everything else. It’s like the common phenomenon that happens in hospital laboratories:  Doctors want test results from their patients to be done right away, so they label them as “stat” (which means “immediate”).  When the lab gets too many stat requests however, everything is treated the same, which means that nothing is done immediately.

In our case, the manager really did want to move quickly with the reorganization. But then she was inundated with other tasks, requests, meetings, and priorities and had trouble finding the time to read our proposal. She also thought that she could get her boss and other executives aligned on the reorganization, but couldn’t find the time to get them all together, or even meet with many of them one-on-one. So while she genuinely intended rapid action, she just couldn’t pull it off.

Obviously there is no easy solution for dealing with “hurry up and wait” syndrome. But if you feel that this dynamic is affecting your team’s work, here are two suggestions:

First, put a premium on eliminating unnecessary or low value work. Are there repetitive activities that your team is doing that don’t make a difference, or could be done less often or with less effort? One overloaded manager, for example, got permission from her boss to report her team’s activities on a monthly, instead of weekly, basis. That change gave her team more bandwidth to handle urgent projects.

Second, inject more discipline into the prioritization of projects and tasks.  Work with your team to identify those few things (and not more than a few) that really do need to be done with speed. And when a new request comes in, make explicit decisions about where it fits in the list of priorities – and if necessary, challenge the assumption that it needs to be done right away.

Given the desire for speed that permeates today’s business culture, we’ll all probably experience hurry up and wait syndrome at one time or another. If we can do a better job of prioritizing, however, we might face it less often.

The post Two Ways to Reduce “Hurry Up and Wait” Syndrome appeared first on HBR Ascend.

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