New Mexico’s oil, gas regions could become hydrogen power leaders

As the federal government sought to shift toward less-carbon-intense forms of energy, New Mexico’s Democrat congresspeople appealed to the U.S. Department of Energy to focus efforts to develop hydrogen power in their state.

U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan and U.S. Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez wrote a letter to U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm calling on the DOE and administration of President Joe Biden to make New Mexico “the world’s premier center of excellence” for hydrogen energy production, research and workforce.

The congresspeople pointed to Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan which included investments in 15 low-carbon hydrogen demonstration projects in communities across the country, including production tax credits like legislation proposed earlier this year by Heinrich in the Clean Hydrogen Production Incentives Act of 2021.

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New Mexico’s multiple national research laboratories like Los Alamos and Sandia national labs and its renewable energy resources in the wind and solar sectors could make it an ideal location for the development of hydrogen power, the letter read.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich

“New Mexico has a combination of outstanding attributes that make it uniquely suited to serve as the powerhouse of the nation’s emerging clean hydrogen economy, which is already attracting significant attention and investments from industry,” read the letter.

Areas of the state known for fossil fuel production – the Permian Basin in the southeast and San Juan Basin to the northwest – could prove as hubs for clean hydrogen power as both hold strong energy infrastructures and workforces, the lawmakers argued.