Great Lakes Energy News Roundup: Michigan clean energy transition, pilot hydrogen production plant, Ohio nuclear bankruptcy ruling

Great Lakes Energy News Roundup: Michigan clean energy transition, pilot hydrogen production plant, Ohio nuclear bankruptcy ruling
October 16, 2020 Ian Wendrow
Photo by FirstEnergy Corp. via flickr.com cc 2.0

Keep up with energy-related developments in the Great Lakes area with Great Lakes Now’s biweekly headline roundup.

In this edition: Michigan environmental justice advocates claim state can’t wait to 2050 for clean energy, Minnesota nuclear power plant to construct pilot facility to produce hydrogen energy, and Ohio nuclear energy company faces dangerous court motion from environmental groups.

Click on the headline to read the full story:


On the same day that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan signed an executive order promising the state will be carbon-neutral by 2050, a coalition of 40 environmental groups published an open memo urging the governor and other state officials to be more aggressive with the transition to clean energy and strive for net carbon neutrality by 2030. 


Minnesota’s Xcel Energy received a $10.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to begin construction on a pilot project that would use the company’s existing nuclear energy facility to build a pilot hydrogen plant. Should the pilot be successful, it would allow Xcel Energy to produce hydrogen without generating harmful emissions, utilizing steam from the neighboring power plant to separate hydrogen from oxygen in water through the process of electrolysis. The Minnesota company must still decide between one of two locations for the new plant, though it is likely to be built near the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Station, located along the Mississippi River opposite Wisconsin. Construction is expected to begin in 2022.


Environmental groups in Ohio filed a motion urging FirstEnergy Solution’s bankruptcy judge to reassess the case in light of separate federal and state cases pertaining to corruption. FirstEnergy, previously known as Energy Harbor before it filed for bankruptcy in 2018 and restructured, runs two nuclear power plants on the coast of Lake Erie that became the center of a heated piece of legislation, House Bill 6, which would increase taxes on Ohioans in order to effectively subsidize the plants. After the bill passed, former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and other government officials were embroiled in a scandal alleging they created a $60 million bribery scheme to help pass House Bill 6. The environmentalists’ motion notes that FirstEnergy is a named party in Ohio’s corruption case but not the federal one. Regardless, they hope their motion will spur the bankruptcy judge to revise FirstEnergy’s reorganization plan that was granted earlier this year.

Catch up on other Great Lakes energy headlines here:

Great Lakes Energy News Roundup: Illinois, Ohio coal plants closing; Michigan treatment plant upgrade, Wisconsin poor infrastructure

Great Lakes Energy News Roundup: Wisconsin utility shutoffs postponed, Lake Erie wind farm, Minnesota mine legal win

Great Lakes Energy News Roundup: Ohio nuclear bailout bill repeal, COVID-19 energy crises in Michigan

Featured image: The Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Lake County, Ohio (Photo by FirstEnergy Corp. via flickr.com cc 2.0)


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