County exploring hydrogen market options
Wheatland County is continuing to explore options regarding the local hydrogen market and received a report from Navigatio Capital during the Feb. 21 regular meeting of council.
Markus Lehmann, speaking on behalf of Navigatio Capital, presented to County Council what he described as the Wheatland New Energy Report, summarizing the current state of hydrogen-related enterprise within the county, and some directions it may be able to take with expansion in mind.
“Hydrogen embraces much more than just what we would call the actual production of hydrogen, but it encourages the overall scope of new energy development,” he said.
The objective of the report, he explained, was to provide insight into global new energy developments and the state of affairs and how it pertains to Wheatland County.
According to Lehmann, the county is well situated to attract new investment and capital, which would ultimately provide benefits to ratepayers, increased municipal revenues, and the creation of more local jobs.
“New energy developments across the globe are projected to create an economic opportunity which is unprecedented in scale and scope. This perhaps, represents the largest economic transformation in human history,” he said. “In 2022, for the first time ever, new energy investments outpaced energy investments in hydrocarbons and that is a benchmark which we will see replicating and increasing as time moves on.”
Lehmann presented in his report that over $1 trillion USD was invested in new energy developments in 2022 across the globe. Over half of that was invested in China alone.
“In Canada, both the federal and provincial governments understand the underlying importance of providing not only the regulatory mandate and support for new energy developments, but also the fiscal policy which can counter and compete with these global initiatives,” he explained.
Alberta produces slightly upwards of four million tonnes of hydrogen per year and is the largest producer of hydrogen in Canada. However, that production is almost exclusively steam-methane reforming, which has a very high carbon footprint.
Wheatland County already plays a significant role in the local hydrogen market, which Lehmann explained could expand in several different directions.
“The demand at this moment is based on fertilizer production, and petrochemical usage, which is in hydrogenated oils, petrochemicals and the like, and of course, in fertilizer,” he said. “Wheatland County is the only jurisdiction in Alberta which is producing more hydrogen than it consumes. That is already a factor which can be based towards a market application and opportunity for this hydrogen to be consumed in a non-industrial or a transportation or a derivative market.”
County Council accepted the report as information, and directed administration to adapt the recommendations presented in the agenda into the Economic Development Officer’s responsibilities.
More information regarding the recommendations, as well as the presented report, are available via the County’s Feb. 21 public agenda package.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times