Comparing the costs: Siphoning wind power off the grid to produce hydrogen via electrolysis for use in fuel cells is an expensive option compared with producing hydrogen by reforming natural gas. Assuming a generation cost for wind of $0.045/kWh, its conversion via electrolysis brings the cost of hydrogen gas to $0.06/kWh. Storage and distribution is expected to add $0.02/kWh, resulting in a delivered cost of fuel to a vehicle of around $0.08/kWh -- over three times the basic cost of petrol (gasoline). If the wind derived hydrogen is passed through a domestic fuel cell to generate electricity, then the delivered cost of energy is likely to be around $0.25/kWh -- around three times the cost of domestic electricity. On the other hand, if the wind power stays in the electricity network for delivery of domestic electricity, the cost of energy is $0.09/kWh (including an extra reserve to cover the slightly increased uncertainty of supply when wind energy provides 20% of demand). Hydrogen based on current natural gas prices can be produced for about $0.02/kWh and delivered to vehicles at around $0.04/kWh, twice the cost of fuel at the pump; used in a fuel cell, the resulting electricity would cost about $0.125/kWh -- more than wind power, but half that of electricity from a fuel cell fed with wind-derived hydrogen. A substantial rise in natural gas prices is needed before hydrogen from renewables is cheaper than hydrogen from gas.
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Offshore Renewables EIA Consenting Project Manager JSM Associates Flexible