Briefly Noted: New Mexico & Hawaii H2 Plans
More (Hydrogen) Power to the States - New Mexico and Hawaii launch initiatives: New Mexico's House of Representatives has unanimously passed a resolution directing the New Mexico Hydrogen Business Council (NMHBC) to convene a task force to develop legislation that would create a state-run liability insurance program for hydrogen energy systems. At present, many large insurance companies will not underwrite hydrogen energy projects because of limited actuariual data, the absence of codes and standards, and the fact that current potential volume is quite small. "Developing legislation to eliminate commercialization barriers is one of the key missions of NMHBC," said the group's president, David Haberman. "We're pleased to accept this responsibility." Earlier, in January, Hawaii's Governor Linda Engle announced a strategic energy plan that "seeks to establish Hawaii as a leader in the global hydrogen economy by accelerating the development of the state's own indigenous, renewable energy resources." When fully implemented in 2020, this could save the island state 110 million barrels of crude oil imports, retain $6.3 billion in the island's economy, and eliminate 49 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the release. The plan focuses on energy efficiency, renewable energy, fuels from farming, and advanced technology, tapping into sunlight, wind, geothermal and untapped ocean and agricultural resources. "The state's combination of abundant renewable resources, high fuel prices, limited geographical area and recognized expertise in hydrogen technology r&d makes it an ideal location to lead the state's transition to a renewable energy-to-hydrogen economy," Gov. Lingle's release quoted Ted Liu, director of Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism as saying. Drawing on a 2003 study by the Irvine, CA-based Stillwater Associates consultancy, Liu said an ethanol industry could produce 90 millions gallons of that fuel a year, adding as much as $300 million to Hawaii's economy.
Contacts: New Mexico, Gerry Runte, NMHBC president-elect, (505) 603-2259, www.nmhbc.org; Hawaii, Ted Liu/Maurice Kaya, 808/586-2355; www.hawaii.gov/gov/news/releases.