Bracewell’s G. Alan Rafte, Christine Wyman and Tim Urban recently discussed the state of hydrogen as a possible zero-carbon energy resource with Law360 reporter Keith Goldberg.
“Most of the real activity is around policy stuff, which will be mandates, tax incentives and things like that to get the economics more in line,” said Rafte.
Projects capable of putting hydrogen to work on a large scale remain in their infancy and the element is still prohibitively expensive compared to other fuel sources. But advocates tout the roles hydrogen could play in decarbonizing the economy and addressing climate change.
“That cross-sector use of hydrogen is important,” said Wyman. “It’s a vector across different sectors.”
With cost being the biggest obstacle to US hydrogen project development, federal tax incentives are a key way to lighten the load and make the projects financially viable. But experts say the current tax perks available for clean energy projects weren’t designed with hydrogen in mind.
“Hydrogen has been shoehorned into a format for different technologies,” said Urban. “Instead of there being one, one-size-fits-all [credit] that would incentivize hydrogen development, hydrogen companies and tax lawyers have to sift through all of these niche incentives and figure out which [hydrogen] application fits.”