New Brunswick’s Hydrogen Roadmap a Distraction from Genuine Climate Solutions

The New Brunswick government’s recent release of its hydrogen roadmap, touted as a step towards environmental progress, is a distraction from real climate solutions and a dangerous step towards unsustainable practices. 

The Conservation Council believes green hydrogen should be the only hydrogen considered for production, and it should only be considered for local industrial use. The roadmap claims hydrogen is easy to transport and sets a precedent for international hydrogen trade, which is concerning. 

In fact, hydrogen’s chemical properties make it more difficult to transport than other fuels like gasoline or diesel. Storing and transporting hydrogen requires high-pressure tanks or cryogenic conditions, which add to the cost and energy requirements. Additionally, hydrogen can cause metals to become brittle, requiring specialized infrastructure.

The idea of blending hydrogen with natural gas is equally concerning. While some may view this as a solution to cut emissions, the reality is that blending hydrogen into the existing natural gas grid is limited in its impact and efficiency. In most European countries, it won’t be possible to exceed a 20 per cent blend without extensive infrastructure upgrades, rendering it an impractical and ineffective strategy to reduce emissions.

Further, the plan’s emphasis on hydrogen-fueled vehicles is misguided. Studies have shown that hydrogen cars are still inefficient compared with electric vehicles, requiring significantly more electricity to operate. It takes about 3.3 times more electricity to power a hydrogen fuel cell car than an electric vehicle. 

The roadmap’s proposal to generate hydrogen from nuclear energy is also deeply troubling. Nuclear has been an expensive burden on New Brunswickers. This year’s three per cent rate increase to N.B. Power’s variance account is due to the unplanned outage at Point Lepreau last year and the cost of buying replacement power. Using this expensive energy source to make hydrogen is not economically feasible.

The Conservation Council of New Brunswick urges the provincial government to reconsider its hydrogen roadmap and instead prioritize genuine, sustainable solutions to combat climate change. The government should prioritize investing in renewable energy for electricity generation and not hydrogen production. We must focus on investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and proven technologies like electric vehicles to make a truly positive impact on our environment and secure a sustainable future for generations to come.

“Fixating on hydrogen may cause us to overlook the immediate benefits of ramping up renewable energy capacity,” says Dr. Moe Qureshi, the Conservation Council’s Director of Climate Research and Policy.

This focus on hydrogen can delay progress towards a cleaner and greener future by prolonging our dependence on fossil fuels. It is crucial that we do not let hydrogen’s potential distract us from readily available renewable energy technologies that can meet our energy needs and help us achieve our sustainability goals.

More information about the Conservation Council’s position on hydrogen can be found here.

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Corey Robichaud, Director of Communications, Conservation Council of New Brunswick | | 506.458.8747

Moe Qureshi, Director of Climate Research and Policy, Conservation Council of New Brunswick | | 506.458.8747

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