The hydrogen consortium New Mexico belongs to emphasized it has vast rural regions and large populations of Latinos, Native Americans and displaced workers from coal-fueled power plants.
The proposed four-state “hydrogen hub” responded Friday to the federal Department of Energy’s request for information from consortiums competing for $8 billion to develop hydrogen energy programs throughout the country.
New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah have proposed to work together in an organization dubbed the Western Inter-States Hydrogen Hub, or WISHH. The request for information may help weed out the regions that receive allocations of money and those that merely wish they had received some.
The exercise seemed designed to assist the federal government in setting up criteria for the selection process and to give the multistate teams a chance to promote themselves.
gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s office said the 21 pages of responses “highlight the key attributes that will contribute to a successful hydrogen hub implementation effort, all of which these four states are uniquely situated to provide as part of their collective effort.”
Lujan Grisham last month moved to participate in a clean hydrogen program after failing to get a similar proposal through the Legislature early this year.
Some environmentalists and observers in New Mexico have shown little interest in the governor’s vision to use hydrogen for energy. They have derided the concept of developing hydrogen hubs as having the potential to increase carbon emissions, which would be quite the opposite of the goal.
The federal initiative seeks to stimulate innovation and collaboration to separate hydrogen from natural gas and contribute to the nation’s effort to reduce carbon emissions. The government demands programs that lead to clean hydrogen production, delivery, storage and use.
WISHH’s four governors have pledged to create their own facilities and laboratories but not compete individually for the federal money.
Among the energy representatives from New Mexico are Sarah Cottrell Propst, the secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, and James Kenney, secretary of the Environment Department.
WISHH said it supported the idea of creating six to 10 hydrogen hubs of varying sizes. It said a successful endeavor would produce technological feasibility, economic vitality and social acceptance of the program.
Further, the effort would produce jobs in construction and long-term positions in operations, supply chain, business, finance, education and training.
Lujan Grisham said in a news release the consortium “consists of leading research institutions in the four states who work together on science and technology related to hydrogen and other energy and environmental topics.”