WEC Energy Group to test hydrogen power at Michigan plant

WEC Energy Group headquarters building
WEC Energy Group's Milwaukee corporate headquarters.

WEC Energy Group plans to test hydrogen as fuel source for its power plants as part of a pilot program with the Electric Power Research Institute.

WEC, the Milwaukee-based parent company of We Energies and other utilities around the Midwest, described the pilot program as the first of its kind in the U.S.

The company will co-fire hydrogen and natural gas on one of the generating units at a power plant in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with up to 25/75 blend.

“We’re pleased to take a leading role in testing hydrogen in our modern natural gas fueled generation units,” said Gale Klappa, executive chairman of WEC Energy Group. “As we bring more renewable energy online, we must ensure that we can keep the lights on when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. The potential of adding hydrogen as a clean generating fuel to our fleet of dispatchable plants is an important step as we bridge to a bright, sustainable future.”

WEC has set a goal of net-zero carbon emissions from its electric generation by 2050. BizTimes Media detailed the company’s increasing shift toward solar and battery storage as an energy source in recent cover story. At the time, officials pointed to hydrogen as a potential part of the company’s energy mix going forward.

The Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit energy research and development organization, will lead the technical implementation of the project and will share results to help industry adopt the technology.

“Demonstration projects like this one are critical to advancing clean energy technologies needed to meet net-zero goals,” said Arshad Mansoor, chief executive officer of EPRI. “This project will provide key insights on how this could be replicated throughout the country, providing energy companies with a suite of solutions to reduce carbon emissions.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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