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Gov. Tim Walz on Monday announced Minnesota will join Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio in a new coalition to accelerate the development of renewable hydrogen.

The Midwest Hydrogen Coalition (M-H2 Coalition) will work to pursue billions in clean hydrogen investments, particularly through federal funding made available through landmark legislation supporting investments in clean energy. 

In addition to reducing carbon emissions, the effort aims to reduce long-term energy costs for consumers and businesses, and promote energy independence.

“The development of clean hydrogen markets will create jobs and strengthen industries across our state,” Walz stated Monday. “I am proud to join a coalition that will work to expand the clean energy economy and reduce climate impacts on future generations across Minnesota and the U.S.”

Most hydrogen in use today, known as "gray" hydrogen, is produced using fossil fuels.

The cleanest form of hydrogen, known as green hydrogen, is produced by a process called water electrolysis, during which electrical currents (powered by renewable electricity, such as wind or solar) split water into oxygen and hydrogen.

CenterPoint Energy earlier this year launched a small-scale pilot project in Minneapolis to further explore the potential of green hydrogen in decarbonizing the natural gas system. 

The technology remains in early stages of development, and at this time is an incredibly water-intensive process, with the CenterPoint pilot using two gallons of water per minute to produce energy that is equivalent to removing 260 typical cars off the road a year.

Nonetheless, the development of green hydrogen is one of the beneficiaries within the clean energy economy that will receive a historic investment this year from the historic climate legislation signed into law by President Joe Biden. 

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, for example, provides $8 billion to the Department of Energy for the development of at least four Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs.

The legislation also allocated $1 billion towards cost-saving measures on the production of clean hydrogen and $500 million for initiatives to support domestic clean hydrogen supply chains. 

The Inflation Reduction Act also established tax credits for clean hydrogen production. 

“The Midwest Hydrogen Coalition brings opportunities for Minnesota to collaborate with multiple states to draw more investment and develop more innovations,” stated Grace Arnold, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Commerce. “Clean hydrogen gives us another great opportunity to transition to a clean energy economy.”

BMTN Note: The broader trend of increasingly severe weather and record-breaking extremes seen in Minnesota and across the globe can be attributed directly to the rapidly warming climate caused by human activity. The IPCC has warned that Earth is "firmly on track toward an unlivable world," and says greenhouse gas emissions must be halved by 2030 in order to limit warming to 1.5C, which would prevent the most catastrophic effects on humankind. You can read more here.

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