Jan. 25, 2022
WEC Energy Group announces hydrogen power pilot program
MILWAUKEE – WEC Energy Group (NYSE: WEC) today announced that it is leading a pilot project to test hydrogen as a fuel source for power generation. The company will test co-firing hydrogen with natural gas at one of its power generation plants in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. This is one of the first hydrogen power pilot programs of its kind in the United States.
WEC Energy Group has set some of the most aggressive environmental goals in the energy industry, including net-zero carbon emissions from electric generation by 2050 and net-zero methane emissions from natural gas distribution by the end of 2030. This pilot continues that industry leadership and could help create another viable option for decarbonizing the economy.
“We’re pleased to take a leading role in testing hydrogen in our modern natural gas fueled generation units,” said Gale Klappa, executive chairman. “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.”
During the pilot project, hydrogen and natural gas will be mixed up to a 25/75 percent blend to power one of the generating units that serves customers of Upper Michigan Energy Resources, a WEC Energy Group subsidiary. The units use a technology known as RICE — reciprocating internal combustion engines. The engines were manufactured by technology company Wärtsilä and began service in 2019.
WEC Energy Group is partnering with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the world's preeminent independent, non-profit energy research and development organization, driving innovation to ensure the public has clean, safe, reliable, affordable, and equitable access to electricity across the globe.
EPRI will lead the technical implementation of the project and share results to further educate the energy industry about how to successfully use hydrogen for power generation to support reducing carbon emissions.
“Demonstration projects like this one are critical to advancing clean energy technologies needed to meet net-zero goals,” said EPRI CEO Arshad Mansoor. “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. We look forward to working with WEC Energy Group and other energy stakeholders throughout the clean energy transition.”
WEC Energy Group (NYSE: WEC), based in Milwaukee, is one of the nation’s premier energy companies, serving 4.6 million customers in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota.
The company’s principal utilities are We Energies, Wisconsin Public Service, Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas, Michigan Gas Utilities, Minnesota Energy Resources and Upper Michigan Energy Resources. Another major subsidiary, We Power, designs, builds and owns electric generating plants. In addition, WEC Infrastructure LLC owns a growing fleet of renewable generation facilities in the Midwest.
WEC Energy Group (wecenergygroup.com) is a Fortune 500 company and a component of the S&P 500. The company has approximately 39,000 stockholders of record, 7,000 employees and $39 billion of assets.
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