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It's All Hydrogen All the Time Here - NMED Secretary Kenney's motto



In another episode of "FOLLOW THE MONEY," we learned last year that the Governor relied on a study prepared by a former chairman of NMOGA who donated more than $18,000 to her campaign when she announced her failed Hydrogen Hub legislation, and James Kenney, Secretary of of the NM Environment Department tasked with protecting our land and water is writing "It's all hydrogen all the time here!" in an email to a think tank advocating ‘hydrogen hub formation.’ So called "clean" hydrogen production from methane is a thinly disguised market expansion ploy by the gas industry and produces more emissions than simply burning gas directly for heat and energy. The wholesale abandonment of any pretense of ethics, accountability or care for our land and people is chilling.

HYDROGEN PUSH CONTINUES UNABATED

Despite our victories at the Roundhouse in 2022 preventing $150M in state funds from being invested in the development of a Hydrogen Hub, the Governor and her Environment Department have not even paused in their bid to develop new markets for the oil and gas industry. The Governor signed an MOU with Utah, Wyoming and Colorado and together this organization, Western Inter-state Hydrogen Hub (WISHH), has applied for funding from the federal government to invest in this false climate solution. She issued an Executive Order directing agencies to spend money intended for industry regulation to coordinate hydrogen industry opportunities. She has inked deals with private hydrogen industry companies to come to New Mexico with promises of public funds, and she has made no secret of her ambition to turn New Mexico into ground zero for this fossil fuel boondoggle. The WISSH proposal has been approved as one of 33 finalists for Hydrogen Hub development and they will finalize their application by an April deadline.

This week we learned belatedly about a Hydrogen Hub update scheduled in the Legislative Finance Committee and coalition partners dropped everything to show up and push back against the industry narrative and the cynical rebranding of fossil fueled hydrogen as "Clean" Hydrogen. In no world is 2kg of CO2 emissions per 1kg of hydrogen produced CLEAN! And even that weak standard relies on highly questionable Carbon Capture and Storage technology that serves only to delay a real transition away from fossil fuels. The science has not changed. Fossil fueled hydrogen will cause:

DANGEROUS EXPLOSIONS THAT HARM WORKERS AND CONSUMERS

Hydrogen is highly flammable; production and distribution will lead to cost overruns, failed projects and safety risks.

  • As the smallest molecule, 14 times lighter than air and 57 times lighter than gasoline vapor, it escapes containment easily and those same properties prevent adding odorants so it’s difficult to detect leaks. Deadly explosions are a frequent result.

  • Hydrogen is highly reactive. It embrittles pipelines and holding tanks, making it difficult and dangerous to contain, transport and use without specialized technology and materials. The presence of hydrogen in pipelines can increase the risk of flashback (flames moving upstream into the supply system) from combustion devices, including customer appliances, causing explosions and potential injury or death.

INCREASED METHANE EMISSIONS, DELAYED INVESTMENT IN SOLAR AND WIND, AND ACCELERATING CLIMATE DESTRUCTION

Hydrogen production from methane gas is not "clean." Fossil fueled dirty hydrogen increases climate-warming emissions.

  • Fossil fuel companies produce 99.8% of the United States’ hydrogen supply from methane gas or coal. Globally, less than 1% of hydrogen is produced through electrolysis of water, and less than 0.02% is green (i.e., powered by renewable electricity).

  • Hydrogen Hub projects being proposed in New Mexico are primarily fueled by methane gas. When the entire life cycle of fossil-fueled hydrogen is calculated, grey hydrogen emissions are 38% greater than directly burning natural gas for energy, and blue hydrogen is not much better, resulting in 22% more emissions. Green hydrogen production from renewable energy requires 9kg of fresh water for every 1kg of hydrogen and is not feasible for production in our arid New Mexico climate.

  • Blue hydrogen depends on Carbon Capture and Storage, a half-baked technology that has resulted in stranded assets worldwide and relies on the false hope that none of the sequestered carbon will escape.

MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN LOSSES AND STRANDED ASSETS FUNDED BY NEW MEXICAN TAXPAYERS

Grey and Blue Hydrogen will soon be obsolete and will result in stranded assets and the loss of millions of taxpayer dollars.

  • Rethink Energy predicts that by 2026 green hydrogen will undercut the cost of grey hydrogen supplies, reaching just $1.54/kg by 2030. Fossil fueled hydrogen infrastructure built today will become obsolete within just a few years, resulting in millions of dollars in stranded assets and opportunity costs.

  • Hydrogen-based electricity generation is much more costly and less efficient than solar & wind energy, resources that NM possesses in abundance.

Yes, we know that green hydrogen produced with renewable energy can play a small part in the energy transition we need, but the projects being promoted here are nothing of the sort.

Secretary Kenney showed up to promote the lucrative hydrogen projects already under contract around the state, and so did Karl Fennessey, Vice President of Corporate and Public Policy for ConocoPhillips, who came to share his support for hydrogen and bragged that Conoco is pumping 1.7M barrels of oil per day from the Permian. Representatives from YUCCA, Pueblo Action Alliance, Retake our Democracy, No False Solutions, Indigenous Lifeways, Los Jardines Institute, Albuquerque Indivisible, and individual New Mexicans came with the facts and pointed out that the $24M taxpayer dollars hydrogen promoters are hoping to spend to entice the feds to invest their Inflation Reduction Act dollars in our state should instead be invested in solar and wind, also eligible for Inflation Reduction Act subsidies.

Senator Patty Lundstrom announced that on Monday a new Hydrogen Hub bill will be introduced. We will be there to oppose, and we hope you will join us in calling and writing to your legislators now to ask them to base their decisions on science, not politics or short-term gain, and to stand strong against the hydrogen hype. (Find their contact info here).

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