The Department of Commerce shall coordinate and administer directly or by contract the Minnesota renewable hydrogen initiative. If the department decides to contract for its duties under this section, it must contract with a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization within the state to develop the road map. The initiative may be run as a public-private partnership representing business, academic, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations. The initiative must oversee the development and implementation of a renewable hydrogen road map, including appropriate technology deployments, that achieve the hydrogen goal of section 216B.8109. The road map should be compatible with the United States Department of Energy's National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap and be based on an assessment of marketplace economics and the state's opportunities in hydrogen, fuel cells, and related technologies, so as to capitalize on strengths. The road map should establish a vision, goals, general timeline, strategies for working with industry, and measurable milestones for achieving the state's renewable hydrogen goal. The road map should describe how renewable hydrogen and fuel cells fit in Minnesota's overall energy system, and should help foster a consistent, predictable, and prudent investment environment. The department must report to the legislature on the progress in implementing the road map by November 1 of each odd-numbered year.
(a) The commissioner of commerce shall operate a competitive grant program for projects to assist the state in attaining its renewable hydrogen energy goals. The commissioner of commerce shall assemble an advisory committee made up of industry, university, government, and nongovernment organizations to:
(1) help identify the most promising technology deployment projects for public investment;
(2) advise on the technical specifications for those projects; and
(3) make recommendations on project grants.
(b) The commissioner shall give preference to project concepts included in the department's most recent biennial report: Strategic Demonstration Projects to Accelerate the Commercialization of Renewable Hydrogen and Related Technologies in Minnesota. Projects eligible for funding must combine one or more of the hydrogen production options listed in the department's report with an end use that has significant commercial potential, preferably high visibility, and relies on fuel cells or related technologies. Each funded technology deployment must include an explicit education and awareness-raising component, be compatible with the renewable hydrogen deployment criteria defined in section 216B.812, and receive 50 percent of its total cost from nonstate sources. The 50 percent requirement does not apply for recipients that are public institutions.