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Navigating the Implementation of Tax Credits for Natural-Gas-Based Low-Carbon-Intensity Hydrogen Projects


This paper delves into the critical role of tax credits, specifically Sections 45Q and 45V, in the financing and economic feasibility of low-carbon-intensity hydrogen projects, with a focus on natural-gas-based hydrogen production plants integrated with carbon capture and storage (CCS). This study covers the current clean energy landscape, underscoring the importance of low-carbon hydrogen as a key component in the transition to a sustainable energy future, and then explicates the mechanics of the 45Q and 45V tax credits, illustrating their direct impact on enhancing the economic attractiveness of such projects through a detailed net present value (NPV) model analysis. Our analysis reveals that the application of 45Q and 45V tax credits significantly reduces the levelized cost of hydrogen production, with scenarios indicating a reduction in cost ranging from USD 0.41/kg to USD 0.81/kg of hydrogen. Specifically, the 45Q tax credit demonstrates a slightly more advantageous impact on reducing costs compared to the 45V tax credit, underpinning the critical role of these fiscal measures in enhancing project returns and feasibility. Furthermore, this paper addresses the inherent limitations of utilizing tax credits, primarily the challenge posed by the mismatch between the scale of tax credits and the tax liability of the project developers. The concept and role of tax equity investments are discussed in response to this challenge. These findings contribute to the broader dialogue on the financing of sustainable energy projects, providing valuable insights for policymakers, investors, and developers in the hydrogen energy sector. By quantifying the economic benefits of tax credits and elucidating the role of tax equity investments, our research supports informed decision-making and strategic planning in the pursuit of a sustainable energy future.

Funding source: The authors declare that this study received funding from GeoH2 research consortium at The University of Texas at Austin Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) and the State of Texas Advanced Resource Recovery (STARR) program at BEG. The funders were not involved in the study design, collection, analysis, interpretation of data, the writing of this article or the decision to submit it for publication.
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: United States

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