Governor makes pitch for hydrogen power

Gov. Ted Kulongoski expressed strong support for hydrogen energy technology Monday, and directed Oregon's Department of Energy to develop strategies for moving Oregon "toward a hydrogen economy.&



Kulongoski sets goals for state to meet by 2025

Gov. Ted Kulongoski expressed strong support for hydrogen energy technology Monday, and directed Oregon's Department of Energy to develop strategies for moving Oregon "toward a hydrogen economy."

"Hydrogen holds great promise and offers great possibilities, including clean energy, good jobs, and a healthy environment," the governor told a conference sponsored by the Northwest Hydrogen Alliance. "I will direct Oregon's director of the state Department of Energy to develop a strategy to move our region toward a hydrogen economy."

Hydrogen-powered internal-combustion engines operate without creating any kind of pollution, and hydrogen-powered fuel cells generate pollution-free electricity. The byproduct of hydrogen combustion is harmless water vapor, which makes the gas attractive as a fuel.

"I have a vision of the Pacific Northwest leading the nation in producing hydrogen and reaping the environmental and economic benefits of that leadership," the governor said. "But developing the right strategy is critical. More specifically, I believe the state of Oregon needs a blueprint to guarantee meaningful and productive engagement by state government with the private sector in pursuit of that vision."

Kulongoski urged industry leaders to "plant the seeds for exciting new industries, technologies and materials needed for the hydrogen economy."

"I've set a very ambitious goal for our state: To meet 25 percent of the state's electricity needs with renewable energy by the year 2025," the governor said. "State government can and must lead by example. That's why I have directed state agencies to develop a plan to meet 100 percent of state government's electricity needs from renewable sources in the next four years."

Kulongoski proposed aggressive incentives to help industries develop renewable energy technologies. Among these is raising Oregon's Business Energy Tax Credit from 35 percent to 50 percent, and increasing the eligible cost from $10 million to $20 million per project.

The proposal would significantly increase the eligible tax credit for a hydrogen fueling center (where the hydrogen comes from renewable sources of energy), making infrastructure development much easier to achieve. For purposes of computing the tax credit, the state would consider each fueling center to be a separate project.

"These are all serious incentives, which together will help businesses deliver the goods of clean energy and good Oregon jobs," Kulongoski said.

"In the near term, I'm talking about stimulating our economy, and increasing our prosperity through green technology," he said. "But in the long term, I'm talking about leading the way to energy independence by ending America's addiction to foreign oil. That means making the transition to fuels that do not pollute, fuels that do not contribute to greenhouse gasses, and fuels that do not accelerate global warming."

He stressed his support of other clean and renewable energy technologies, such as wind power and wave power, and ethanol and biodiesel fuels.

Biodiesel and ethanol can also serve as a bridge to a future when burning fossil fuels is no longer necessary, Kulongoski said.

"Hydrogen, however, is not a bridge to the future," he said. "Hydrogen is the future, along with other clean and renewable energy technologies."



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