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New Mexico governor seeks hydrogen investment with trip to Netherlands

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The governor of New Mexico has announced plans to court new investments in hydrogen fuel development at a business summit in the Netherlands over the coming week.

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

Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, has been a vocal proponent of investments in hydrogen as a transition fuel that can replace fossil fuels with cleaner-burning hydrogen as an energy source for vehicles, manufacturing and generating electricity.

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

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

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

The Biden administration last year passed over a four-state bid by New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming for a share of $7 billion aimed at kickstarting development and production of hydrogen fuel. It chose instead projects based in California, Washington, Minnesota, Texas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Illinois.

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

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