As the debate around carbon emissions continues and private industries move toward other sources of energy outside of traditional fossil fuels, alternative energy sources are becoming more prevalent. This conversation extends further than the familiar renewable energy sources of wind and solar, although their importance looks to continue.
Two alternative energy sources that are worth noting, as they will impact agriculture, are hydrogen and nuclear energy. While nuclear energy is a known commodity, hydrogen presents an opportunity in Nebraska for Farm Bureau to lead.
Hydrogen energy is produced by using hydrogen fuel cells, which combine hydrogen and oxygen. Large hydrogen energy production facilities are already functional in the United States and burning hydrogen for electricity generation is an idea that is catching on with several power plants across the country announcing plans to operate on a mixture of hydrogen and natural gas. Proponents say that hydrogen fuel cells use an element that is readily available, more powerful, and energy efficient, with zero emissions. Opponents say that the infrastructure does not exist and would be very expensive to install to transport hydrogen.
FARM BUREAU POLICY
Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) President Mark McHargue has been named to Nebraska’s “Hydrogen Hub Working Group.” This group was formed upon passage of a bill in the state Legislature with NEFB support during 2022. Part of the federal infrastructure dollars were to include funding for hydrogen hubs across the U.S. It is the goal of this working group, (which includes NPPD, Monolith Materials, Werner Transportation, Union Pacific, and others ) to make Nebraska the epicenter of this new technology and provide the state with a lucrative clean energy production industry, all while supporting the operating industries in the state.
- Should there be an energy siting matrix for local governments when new energy projects are proposed?
- Should these new projects be regulated at the local or state level?