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February 11, 2006

State Legislature Directs the NM Hydrogen Business Council to Draft Hydrogen Energy Liability Insurance Legislation

NMHBC Applauds Governor Richardson’s Hydrogen Insurance Initiative 

The New Mexico House of Representatives today unanimously passed a resolution directing the New Mexico Hydrogen Business Council (NMHBC) to convene a task force to craft legislation that would create a state operated liability insurance program for hydrogen energy systems. This resolution, sponsored by State Representative Peter Wirth (D-Santa Fe-47), and the ultimate bill are key initiatives of Governor Bill Richardson. 

“The Governor’s initiative will remove one of the commercialization barriers to hydrogen energy projects by eliminating the insurance barrier that now exists,” said Gerry Runte, President-Elect, NMHBC and GM, Clean Energy, ARES Corporation. Runte went on to say “While many large companies have the financial wherewithal to self insure and others located on government property can avail themselves of liability indemnification, this bill opens one pathway for smaller companies to do business in New Mexico. This is a vital first step to moving hydrogen energy into the mainstream as a normal business enterprise. The Governor has taken an important national leadership position on this issue and we applaud his efforts. We especially thank Representative Wirth for his efforts in assuring its passage.” 

Currently, many large insurance companies will not underwrite hydrogen projects because of the limited actuarial data to price coverage, the absence of codes and standards, and the fact that the current potential volume of policies is quite small. While a number of agencies are considering specific codes and standards for installation and operation, the process is quite fragmented and is a long way off from providing a comprehensive basis for action by local officials. “Developing legislation to eliminate commercialization barriers is one of the key missions of the NMHBC. We are pleased to accept this responsibility from the State and will do our best, in conjunction with other members of the task force, to develop legislation that achieves the Governor’s goals,” said David Haberman, President, NMHBC and IF, LLC. 

The NMHBC is a non-profit trade association dedicated to the success of its members, supporting New Mexico as a venue for hydrogen energy and the development of hydrogen markets worldwide. The NMHBC is composed of members from New Mexico, around the nation and many international businesses seeking a steady foothold to explore the growing hydrogen energy potential in the United States. Contact: Gerry Runte, President-Elect, NMHBC, (505) 603-2259, www.nmhbc.org


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