Governor of New Mexico seeks hydrogen investment with trip to the Netherlands

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s governor announced plans to advocate new investments in hydrogen fuel development at a business summit in the Netherlands next week.

In a news release Friday, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said she will lead a delegation to a top industry exhibition in the port city of Rotterdam, seeking the “opportunity to sell New Mexico as a dynamic and thriving place for hydrogen industry investment.” Last year she led a similar mission to Australia to talk to hydrogen entrepreneurs.

Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, is an outspoken advocate of investing in hydrogen as a transition fuel that can replace fossil fuels with cleaner-burning hydrogen as an energy source for vehicles, manufacturing and electricity generation.

Some environmentalists call hydrogen a false solution because it often relies on natural gas as a fuel source. Several New Mexico-based groups have opposed proposed state incentives for hydrogen development, concerned that it would prolong natural gas development and increase demand for scarce water supplies.

Hydrogen can also be produced through electrolysis, which splits water molecules using renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy, as well as nuclear energy.

New Mexico is a major energy producing state with extensive natural gas reserves and broad recent investments in electric transmission lines aimed at expanding renewable energy production from sources such as wind and solar.

The Biden administration last year rejected an offer from four states of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming for a $7 billion share aimed at boosting hydrogen fuel development and production. Instead, it chose projects in California, Washington, Minnesota, Texas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Illinois.

The hydrogen summit in Rotterdam has a range of public and private sponsors. Lujan Grisham travels with office workers, New Mexico cabinet secretaries for environment and transportation, and husband Manny Cordova. The New Mexico delegation also includes Rob Black, president of a statewide chamber of commerce.