BY ROB BLACK
President and CEO
New Mexico Chamber of Commerce
The New Mexico Legislature will once again have the opportunity to place New Mexico at the forefront of development of new forms of energy, this time with Representative Lundstrom’s HB 228, the Hydrogen Hub Development Act.
This Act creates a regulatory framework to allow the conversion of old coal fire power plants to hydrogen production. This conversion would also build out ancillary industries like “green” cement manufacturing – reducing carbon emissions and creating good paying jobs in our rural communities. Not only that, it would give New Mexico the opportunity to leverage federal dollars included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed into law last year by President Biden, which provides funding for at least four regional hydrogen hubs focused on power generation, heating, transportation and industrial end-uses. The law also puts in place new national carbon-intensity-based standards to ensure we are producing the cleanest hydrogen possible.
“New Mexico’s leaders talk a lot about investing in alternative energy and creating rural jobs, well now is the time to do both by supporting HB 228”, said Rob Black, President and CEO of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce. “We have the chance to be a leader in the coming hydrogen energy sector, providing energy and hydrogen to our New Mexico businesses as well as to California and the west coast. Or we can wait and let Texas and Louisiana capture the federal resources and jobs while New Mexico gets left behind.”
Expanding hydrogen in New Mexico will help keep our state competitive, which will enable new gains in the fight to address systemic barriers that impact our disadvantaged communities. Revenues from hydrogen development will help diversify our budget and allow us to invest more in key priorities like education, workforce training and affordable housing.
“Creating a Hydrogen Hub now is critical. Make no mistake, this could be our best and only chance to seize this opportunity”, Said Gallup McKinley County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bill Lee. “Gallup and McKinley County need these energy sector jobs after the closing of the Marathon refinery and Escalante power plant. Failing to act now means New Mexico misses out on its possible share of $300 billion dollars anticipated to be spent over the next 8 years and, the great jobs, outstanding pay, and robust economy the HUB creates.”
The Legislature needs to let New Mexico lead in the development of new energy sources, like hydrogen.