Natural gas is the new oil.

Markus Lehmann a local ratepayer gave a hydrogen overview to Wheatland County at the November 16 county council meeting.

“Alberta's new energy basin has shifted southward. Alberta has the best solar and wind resources in Canada,” he said.

He began by defining the hydrogen economy and the great potential for Wheatland County.

He spoke of using hydrogen as a commercial fuel.

“What is the hydrogen economy? It's basically a transition from the carbon economy and the hydrogen economy relies on the hydrogen molecule as the commercial fuel to deliver, not a fraction, but actually the overwhelming majority of a nation's energy and services,” said Lehmann.

Over 90 per cent of hydrogen production in Canada is produced in Alberta he revealed.

He outlined the benefits of the hydrogen transition for Wheatland County.

Lehmann believes that the county can be a leader and can be known to be a clean energy hub.

“The Alberta Government is very aware of this hydrogen transition as it occurs and they have partnered or are working with a pan-Canadian think tank called The Transition Accelerator.”

Earlier this month, the province announced its own hydrogen strategy called the Hydrogen Roadmap. The plan outlines how the province will move towards lower emissions while using hydrogen power.

There was a concern about the amount of water used from the county in order to create hydrogen, and the cost to produce hydrogen.

Councillor Scott Klassen suggested Lehmann create a pilot project and approach stakeholders to use solar power, or wastewater to generate hydrogen.