Episode 2: Diane Moss
2021-08-23 17:46:06

In the second episode, we had an interesting chat with Mrs. Diane Moss, founding director of the Renewables 100 Policy Institute and founder and owner of dima Communications & Strategic Partnerships. She also served as policy director of the California Hydrogen Business Council, U.S. policy advisor of the World Future Council, policy consultant to Friends of the Earth non-profit organization and South Coast Air Quality Management District Board Member Consultant to two Los Angeles County Supervisors.

Mrs. Moss shared with us her history of being involved with hydrogen and her passion for renewables, and growing up with a strong sense of environmental awareness in a family deeply involved in environmental protection and conservation in the U.S. As she learned more about climate change, she became increasingly concerned about reliance on fossil fuels and their geopolitical as well as environmental impacts.

She was introduced to hydrogen through her European colleagues and her husband who is from Germany. She initially became aware of certain gaps that need to be filled to realize decarbonization, and where hydrogen can play a key role with the potential to solve other difficult applications as well.

There has been an enormous change over the last few years, with increasing momentum on hydrogen development worldwide. Significant amounts of capital are being committed, national and regional roadmaps are being drafted, with Europe taking the most aggressive role. In addition, countries including Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand are proceeding with a considerable amount of work. The Biden administration in the U.S. has announced several big-scale projects with the aim to generate low-cost carbon-free hydrogen, among which Mrs. Moss discussed a project in Utah, which envisages the gradual transition of one of its large coal plants to hydrogen.

The support for hydrogen in California, where Mrs. Moss is based, goes back to the Schwarzenegger administration, wherein in the beginning, there was interest in hydrogen primarily as a transportation fuel with a focus on passenger vehicles. During the last few years there has not only been continued interest in hydrogen as a transportation solution but also as a firm power solution to even out variable renewable supplies and integrate hydrogen as a long duration and seasonal storage resource. A recent bill passed in California now defines hydrogen as energy storage, and recently introduced legislation allows hydrogen to qualify as a firm power resource and as long-duration storage. Hydrogen enjoys a keen interest in the state in sectors such as backup generation fuel, fuel cells, shipping, aviation fuel and even blending hydrogen and repurposing pipelines to displace natural gas.

Mrs. Moss was very measured in her answer in regards to the hydrogen application that has the most potential to scale up in short term in California, stating that although there is a consensus that zero-carbon seasonal long-duration storage and long-haul trucks are where hydrogen is generally recognized as being most competitive, it is still uncertain to what scale can hydrogen reach in these above-mentioned sectors as California’s hydrogen sector is still in its early stage.

Finally, Mrs. Moss finished off by saying that she is an optimistic realist in regards to reaching decarbonization targets worldwide in time. “I'm a realist in that it is not going to be easy but I philosophically have to be optimistic that we can do it.”
“I do think hydrogen is an elegant solution to some really big problems.”

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