Hoping to tap into the billions of dollars in federal incentives coming available for renewable energy projects, Connecticut is preparing to lay out a strategic plan for developing a hydrogen economy.

A bill approved last week by the House Energy and Technology Committee charges the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection with developing a hydrogen strategic plan that encourages the use of hydrogen produced from renewable energy, and prioritizes its use in the sectors of the economy that are hardest to electrify.

The department would also have to write regulations defining “clean hydrogen,” a process that will likely generate considerable debate.

The legislation is based on recommendations from the Connecticut Hydrogen Task Force, which was established by law last year and led by the Connecticut Green Bank. A January report from the task force concluded that Connecticut is well-positioned to pursue the production and use of clean hydrogen as a fuel or energy source.

Environmental advocates had objected to a portion of the legislation that would have granted tax exemptions to projects related to clean hydrogen. The committee subsequently removed that language.

“It was a very broadly defined exemption for anything touching the hydrogen economy,” said Ben Butterworth, director of climate, energy and equity analysis for the Acadia Center. “You would end up incentivizing technologies that aren’t in line with the task force recommendations, like hydrogen passenger vehicles and hydrogen boilers for homes.”

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