The infrastructure law’s approach to hydrogen is to fund everything and see what sticks. At least 4 clean hydrogen “hubs” – projects that can set up infrastructure for hydrogen generation, storage, transit, and consumption — will be funded. The hubs will be located in four different parts of the U.S., with no more than two hubs generating hydrogen from the very same feedstock (fossil fuels, nuclear power, or renewables). Hydrogen’s applications must be diverse, ranging from building heating to heavy industry to automobiles.
Governors, as well as state legislators, are pleading for a center to be established in their state. Mississippi’s Republican governor, Tate Reeves, is intrigued by a $3 billion program to manufacture hydrogen from renewable energy and store it in salt caverns. The governor wrote to the Energy Department in October, urging that the department support the idea with “all available resources.”
A task force established by the Oklahoma Legislature referenced the DOE’s infrastructure monies. Its findings advised that tax credits or even other incentives for hydrogen hubs be developed, as well as new state goals for the clean hydrogen generation. New Mexico boasts some of the most zealous state politicians in the country. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, recently presented a draft law that includes multiple tax breaks for the hydrogen industry, as well as outreach to oil and gas companies and roundtable discussions with potential hydrogen producers.
“We’ve made it clear to Jennifer Granholm, the Energy Secretary and everybody else in the Biden government who would pay any attention that we think we’re the perfect place for a lot of reasons,” James Kenney, the New Mexico’s environment secretary said. “State actions within next 2 years will form the very next 40 years of our economy leveraging hydrogen,” he said. “One item New Mexico is going to be able to do is throw elbows and keep us ahead of the pack.”
New Mexico’s official interest in hydrogen exemplifies hydrogen’s weight in the greater climate policy debate. By 2050, Grisham seeks laws mandating a carbon-free economy. Regarding New Mexico’s emissions profile, her administration’s officials have stated that hydrogen might be a viable strategy for accomplishing that goal. A large portion of the state’s emissions is caused by transportation and heavy industries, particularly oil and gas production.
Following a series of acrimonious confrontations with the gas and oil industry over measures to cut emissions, the governor has proposed pro-hydrogen legislation as a gesture of goodwill. The oil and natural gas business in New Mexico is massive, providing for one-third of the state’s general fund earnings, which pays for everything from the health care to education. In addition, the sector makes significant contributions to both Republican and Democratic campaigns.
So far, at least four hydrogen production projects in New Mexico have been proposed, all of which will create “blue” hydrogen. Local environmentalists, on the other hand, have protested to the governor’s backing for such a plan.” “The fossil fuel business has been looking for ways to rebrand itself,” Camilla Feibelman, who works as the executive director in charge of Sierra Club’s Rio Grande chapter, explained. “To be honest, hydrogen is generating a lot of excitement for us.” Even if carbon capture systems were to eliminate pollutants throughout the hydrogen generation process, Feibelman noted several recent studies showing that fugitive emissions from natural gas production and transportation might tarnish the total impact for blue hydrogen.