Coalition Proposes Hydrogen Power Plant to Reindustrialize Portsmouth Site

A coalition of community, labor, education and business organizations is proposing a hydrogen power plant for the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, Ohio.

The Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative (SODI), an economic development group, which counts Local 1-689 President Herman Potter as one of its board members, has been working with Ohio University and the Texas company Newpoint Gas to get the project off the ground.

Pictured: The property DOE transferred to the Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative (SODI) that is in the southeast portion of the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant site. SODI supports reindustrialization of the site. Photo credit: U.S. Dept. of Energy

The hydrogen power operation would be part of the reindustrialization of the former uranium enrichment plant site, which is undergoing decontamination and decommission work to clean up the legacy nuclear and chemical waste. It is the linchpin for SODI’s Ohio Valley “Green Energy and Manufacturing” initiative.

Potter said the USW played a major role in bringing in Newpoint Gas, which signed a letter of intent to buy the property that SODI owns.

“We’ve been talking to them quite a bit,” he said. “We believe our efforts will be reciprocated with at least 100 to 200 USW jobs, and the construction jobs going to the building trades.

“We are doing things to reindustrialize our site through our lobbying efforts,” he added.

The power plant would generate hydrogen from natural gas to produce clean energy for the manufacture of products like cement and ammonia, which have a carbon-heavy production process. Newpoint Gas anticipates getting the power plant online by the beginning of 2027.

The project also has the support of the Ohio AFL-CIO. “As this venture moves forward, we will call for government support to ensure this project is transformative in a part of our state that has all too often been left behind,” said Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga.

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