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The US is the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG), super-cooled to about -160 °C (or -260 °F) so it can be shipped in tankers. An investment boom means export capacity will soar over the next few years. But last month the Biden administration signaled it was putting the brakes on future growth, announcing a “pause” in new approvals for LNG plants to export to nations that don’t have a free trade agreement with the US.

This decision is expected to stall future US LNG projects by preventing them accessing key global markets including the EU, China, Japan, and the UK. The pause could be an issue in November’s elections: former President Donald Trump has said he would immediately restart approvals if elected.

On the show this week, Ed Crooks is joined by Melissa Lott, Director of Research at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, and Emily Grubert, Associate Professor of sustainable energy policy at the University of Notre Dame, to discuss the implications of the pause for both the US and the global energy market.

If the US is exporting less gas, what will that mean for buyers around the world? What will be the impact on global greenhouse gas emissions, and living standards in lower-income countries? And what are the Biden administration’s motivations in announcing the pause? The gang explore the issues.

Also on the show, the fuel that could replace natural gas, at least for some uses: hydrogen. There has been a lot of excitement over hydrogen, especially over green hydrogen made by electrolysing water, which could in principle have zero carbon emissions. But how green is it really?

The US Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have had a go at answering that question, setting out practical rules for defining low-carbon hydrogen, so they can decide on eligibility for tax credits under the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.

Melissa, Emily and Ed debate whether these proposed rules make sense, and what they mean for the development of a low-carbon hydrogen industry in the US and around the world.

The Energy Gang is partnering with Distributech, the premier annual event for energy transmission and distribution. This year it’s in Orlando, Florida, from Februrary 26th. We’ll be recording a special episode from the event, which will be out on Thursday the 29th as the event wraps up. Claim 20% off your registration with the code DTPART33.

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