Two cities join forces to become the world’s first hydrogen-powered municipalities



LANCASTER, California, July 19, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Today, the two mayors signed a memorandum of understanding in their respective cities, marking their efforts towards the world’s first bilateral agreement between municipalities to use hydrogen as a green energy strategy. The online event, which took place simultaneously at Japan and United States, brought together world environmental dignitaries, including Alex Padilla, US senator for California, Eleni Kounalakis, lieutenant-governor of California, and Yukari hino, Director of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Strategy Office, Natural Resources and Energy Agency of Japan. The concept of a hydrogen-centric Smart Sister City relationship was first proposed during a lunch with the Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles, Akira Muto, and the mayor of Lancaster, Rex parris, in July 2020.

Senator Padilla praised the two cities for establishing a unique collaboration to use hydrogen in addition to teaming up to share knowledge, contacts, best practices and economic development strategies surrounding hydrogen uptake. “They are leading the fight to reduce carbon emissions with innovative technologies and international collaborations,” he said, noting that California has long been a leader in resolving the climate crisis and promoting climate justice. “As a member of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, I am committed to supporting bold actions for the transition to sustainable energy sources.

City of Namie, in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, was rebuilt after the nuclear tragedy of Daiichi March 11, 2011, completing construction of the world’s largest solar-powered hydrogen production unit (the Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field known as “FH2R”) in 2020. “FH2R is a symbol of the takeover of Fukushima, with Namie as a center of innovation, ”said Masami miyashita, Director of from Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

Kazuhiro Yoshida, Mayor of Namie, said hydrogen fits into “recovery and excellence” as central themes of the Tokyo Olympics. “We are delighted that Namie’s hydrogen is being used to power the Olympic torch, flame and the official fuel cell vehicle,” said Yoshida. “With the cooperation of all parties concerned, we are striving to make Namie a pioneer city of a hydrogen-based society using locally produced carbonless hydrogen.” Yoshida explained that the city’s efforts included introducing fuel cell vehicles as official vehicles and implementing a demonstration study to establish a hydrogen supply chain.

Lancaster, California, a town 70 miles north of Los Angeles, is also a hub for innovation in clean energy. Since 2009, the Town of Lancaster attracted more than $ 2 billion in solar investments, developed its own municipal green energy service and in 2019 became the first Net-Zero city in United States. “We are now welcoming several investments from hydrogen companies, and we envision an even brighter hydrogen-centric future,” said Lancaster Mayor Parris.

the Los Angeles County Supervisor, Catherine barger, weighed in qualifying the partnership as a historic opportunity for the Town of Lancaster and the county of Los Angeles participate in the provision of a critical resource. “I hope that the hydrogen produced in Lancaster will help power the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028, just as the hydrogen made by Namie is used in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, ”said Barger.

Consul General Muto underlined the great value of efforts to create a future hydrogen society. “Japan and United States are natural allies in many areas, “said Muto.” Starting with the collaboration between these two visionary cities, where hydrogen production and end consumption will be fully explored, I think this exciting relationship will help show the path to building a hydrogen energy value chain and hydrogen society on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. ”

Namie and Lancaster refined their hydrogen roadmaps and learned as much as possible by sharing their experiences. City officials have monthly online meetings. “They learn about stories, cultures and how to integrate hydrogen into their daily lives. We will also promote dialogue with Japanese companies, ”said Norihiko Saeki, Executive Director of the Japan Foreign Trade Organization (JETRO) in Los Angeles.

Lex heslin, lead project developer for Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI), a multinational waste and energy management company that advises the Town of Lancaster on its 10-year hydrogen master plan, helped Lancaster develop the bilateral program. “Concrete steps that can be replicated elsewhere have been defined to implement a hydrogen strategy and encourage investment in hydrogen or ‘H2’ projects and infrastructure,” Heslin said. These include:

  • help on city land,
  • support authorization,
  • use municipal procurement as a tool,
  • provide incentives,
  • help with grant proposals,
  • bringing together federal agencies, universities, private companies, not-for-profit organizations and community groups, and
  • establish roles within the municipality to oversee H2 projects and achieve goals.

According to Eiji Ohira, head of fuel cell and hydrogen technology at from Japan New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), the two cities will benefit more from new partnerships if global trends are any indicator. “Hydrogen is the key to achieving carbon neutrality, in particular for maximizing the potential of renewable energies. There is a need to build a local energy model based on the use of local resources, and it is effective to use the knowledge and experience of the two cities mutually, ”says Ohira.

AC Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis summed up the landmark agreement by acknowledging that Japan and California, as hydrogen pioneers, made ideal collaborators. “Together, Japan and California pave the way for a clean energy future. Our climate crisis is a global crisis and partnerships at all levels of government, including at the city level, are essential to tackle climate change, ”she said.California houses the largest number of hydrogen vehicles and hydrogen fueling stations in United States. As we decarbonize our economies, hydrogen will be an important fuel for our transportation and industrial needs. ”

Mayor Parris suggested that in the future, the Smart Sister Cities program could become the framework for municipalities of all sizes to adopt a hydrogen roadmap. “Municipalities have enormous power to influence decisions and improve the environment. We hope they will convert to this incredibly smart fuel which promises a new opportunity for cities around the world,” Parris said, adding that he expected more cities to join the program in the near future. .

SOURCE City of Lancaster, California


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