Laying the groundwork for hydrogen as energy source

On April 10, 2023, the House Committee on Energy Resources approved House Bill 2847 by state Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo. The bill would create the Texas Hydrogen Production Policy Council to guide development of the emerging hydrogen energy industry.

Texas 2036 Senior Policy Advisor Jeremy Mazur testified last week in favor of the legislation, which moves now to the full House for deliberation there.

“Texas 2036 is a participating member of the Texas Hydrogen Alliance,” Mazur told members of the Energy Resources committee. “And for the past two years, we have engaged in substantive conversations over which state agency should be involved with the development of the state’s hydrogen industry.

This is not the pursuit of regulation for regulation’s sake. But rather, industry members are interested in knowing which of our state agencies they can turn to on matters of jurisdiction and the state’s regulatory framework.

He added, “House Bill 2847 answers some of those questions by specifying that the Railroad Commission has jurisdiction over hydrogen pipelines and underground geologic storage.”

Jeremy Mazur HB 2847 testimony House Energy for Hydrogen Policy Council

A deliberative approach

“The bill also establishes a policy council within the Commission to begin the broader conversation about what the state’s regulatory framework for hydrogen should be,” Mazur said.

“Given the relative ‘newness’ of hydrogen to our state’s energy system, this council would provide for a deliberative, methodical approach with regard to developing our state’s policy and regulatory framework for hydrogen.”

Mazur added, “Moreover, and lastly, the Council would provide guidance on other areas in the hydrogen arena for which the Commission may need to be assigned jurisdiction.”

Hydrogen is fast becoming a promising, less emissions-intensive energy source. Hydrogen has established itself as a source of stored energy carrier, fuel for transportation and as a feedstock to produce ammonia.

And Texas’ robust port infrastructure positions the state as a leading hydrogen exporter. In addition, innovations in hydrogen-powered long-haul trucking and the use of liquefied hydrogen in aerospace rocket fuel create opportunities for future industry growth.

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