Heinrich Continues Effort To Eliminate Methane Emissions By Prioritizing Production Systems That Result In Clean Hydrogen

WASHINGTON (Feb. 10, 2022) – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, participated in a full committee hearing to examine the opportunities and challenges in using clean hydrogen.

During the hearing, Senator Heinrich urged energy industry leaders and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) officials to prioritize clean hydrogen production formats that are both time efficient and cost effective– like electrolysis.

Last year, Senator Heinrich introduced the Advancing the Clean Hydrogen Future Act. This legislation would establish a research, development, demonstration, and deployment (RDD&D) program to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of producing hydrogen using electrolyzers. Electrolyzers use electricity to split water and create hydrogen, with no greenhouse gas emissions from the process if they are powered using clean electricity.

During the hearing, Senator Heinrich expressed to panel witnesses and DOE Hydrogen Program Coordinator and Director of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office Dr. Sunita Satyapal that states like New Mexico need to have federal support to eliminate fugitive methane emissions in the natural gas supply chain. A key to mitigating the climate impacts of the emerging clean hydrogen production industry will be controlling all upstream methane emissions—which will depend on methane monitoring equipment and strong rules on methane intensity standards.

Prioritizing clean hydrogen production without carbon emission continues Senator Heinrich goals to eliminate methane emissions in New Mexico and across the U.S.

Last year, Senator Heinrich led a nationwide effort to pass legislation into law that reinstates methane emissions standards to protect public health and tackle the climate crisis. Senator Heinrich championed into law S.J. Res 14, a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which nullifies the Trump administration’s 2020 Methane Rescission Rule and reinstates U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for methane emissions from the oil and gas industry and the regulation of air pollution from transmission and storage facilities.

Senator Heinrich also joined a bipartisan group of senators to introduce the Hydrogen Infrastructure Initiative, a package of three bills to support the adoption of clean hydrogen in energy intensive sectors like heavy trucking and shipping.

Under the new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the U.S. Department of Energy will distribute $8 billion to support the development of clean hydrogen hubs across the country. The Infrastructure Law also directs $1 billion to the Clean Hydrogen Electrolysis Program, which is intended to support the demonstration, commercialization, and deployment of electrolyzer systems, in order to decrease the cost of clean hydrogen production from electrolyzers. The Infrastructure Law also directs $700 million towards upgrading hydrogen facilities with the goal of improving dam safety, increasing efficiency, reducing environmental impacts, and maintaining generators that produce emission-free electricity.

Senator Heinrich has called on the Biden administration to recognize New Mexico’s unique strengths and potential to host clean energy development. From abundant wind, solar, and geothermal energy that facilitate zero-emission hydrogen production to the state’s outstanding research universities and national laboratories – New Mexico is ideally positioned to grow a powerhouse clean hydrogen economy, producing jobs across the state. Senator Heinrich has also encouraged government officials and energy industry leaders to promote the manufacturing and deployment of clean hydrogen solutions.

Find an archived video of today’s hearing, a list of witnesses, and testimonies here.

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