The American Sustainable Business Council Applauds Coal-to-Hydrogen Transition in New Mexico

Media Release

Washington, DC – The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) applauds a newly proposed initiative to repurpose a retired coal-fired power plant in New Mexico to use hydrogen as fuel. Upcycling retired power generation facilities such as this project has many benefits. Alternative energy projects can keep employment in communities which may have been heavily impacted by decommissioning fossil fuel facilities; reuse infrastructure assets; fulfill community needs for reliable electricity; demonstrate the safety, efficacy, and environmental benefits of cutting-edge hydrogen energy technology; and in some cases can yield clean-fresh water for the community, which is produced from the combustion of hydrogen.

“We are particularly proud of this project because it shows how we can contribute as the convener of American businesses and business organizations which prioritize sustainability,” said David Levine, Co-founder and President of ASBC. “Furthermore, once it is actualized this project will keep jobs in the community where they have been lost and provide a reliable power source to those who are most impacted by outages like the one in Texas earlier this year.”

This will be the world’s first conversion from a large-scale coal-fired power plant to a large-scale hydrogen fired zero-emission power plant. The technology employed will incorporate a steam methane reformer with hydrogen purification to separate the hydrogen and carbon dioxide pre-combustion. The carbon will be sequestered underground and the pure hydrogen used as fuel to produce steam and generate power.

“After 6 years developing our zero-emissions at source oil & gas processes and technologies, the team at Newpoint is excited to announce our latest project located in central New Mexico. The retired coal fired power plant at the Escalante Generating Station in Prewitt, New Mexico, will be the home of the first zero carbon dispatchable hydrogen power station. The leadership in ASBC has been instrumental in the development of the policy business model for this project, securing and enhancing local jobs and ensuring that no energy community is left behind in a just transition,” said Wiley Rhodes, CEO of One Step In Foundation and Newpoint Gas, LLC and ASBC Board member.

“New Mexico has a long and complicated energy industry history. It is inspiring to see that, in rural areas with infrastructure and workforce originally built for extractive industries, creative technologies and approaches can repurpose those assets towards a sustainable future,” said Sandra McCardell, President, Current-C Energy Systems, Founding Director, Cooperative Catalyst of NM, and ASBC Board member. “As a New Mexican and a member of the American Sustainable Business Council, I am excited to see this project take shape.”

“The eH2Power project is a timely example of how ASBC leads on business-driven, virtuous cycle, ‘Just Transition’ policy solutions by convening the ‘Solidarity Dividend.’ This means uplifting and enabling frontline urban and rural communities that bear the brunt of the energy transition from coal to overcome zero-sum, false choices between a carbon-free economy and dignified employment. eH2 Power ‘builds back better and fairer’ by upgrading to additional hydrogen economy skill sets while avoiding sunk decommissioning and personnel lay-off costs. Besides fuller and technology diversified plant site employment, the civic society Solidarity Dividend comes from transitioning to zero emissions at source, 24/7 dispatchable power instead of cannibalizing closed coal plants only to reassemble them elsewhere in more labor-arbitraged geographies with weaker environmental compliance,” said Michael A. Peck, ASBC Board member and secretary.