Every day across the United States, local distribution companies (LDCs) deliver natural gas to millions of homes and businesses, allowing people to heat buildings and water, cook, operate cooling equipment, and meet other basic needs. Increasingly, however, LDCs face challenges from regulators, investors, consumers, and other stakeholders pushing for a transition to a lower-carbon future. Many LDCs find themselves grappling with an existential question: how should a business based on natural gas adapt and transition into a low-carbon future? This article explores what role hydrogen can play in an LDC’s energy transition strategy. The numerous practical and legal challenges to integrating hydrogen into the LDC system and business model mean that hydrogen will not be a panacea for LDCs seeking to successfully transition into a low-carbon future. However, with appropriate study, planning, and action, LDCs can position hydrogen as a component of their energy transition strategies.
Reprinted with permission from the May 2, 2023 edition of Energy Law Journal. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.