WEC Energy Group Inc. will be building two new natural gas-fired power plants in the Upper Peninsula, with the goal of eventually replacing a current coal-fired plant. With the current fast-paced, affordable production of natural gas currently taking place across the United States, power producers are steadily looking towards it as a way of future-proofing their energy production while helping both the economy and the environment.
Natural Gas in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
The project to build two new natural gas-fired power plants is estimated to cost $255 million, though this does not include the cost of removing and decommissioning the older goal plant. Many utility companies are moving towards natural gas as a plentiful and affordable option. When completed, the natural gas power plants will be able to produce a 170 megawatts of power. The project has been made possible by recent advancements in natural gas power plant technology, which have made natural gas more efficient and affordable. The cost of the new power plants will be distributed among energy customers in Michigan.
Finding New Applications for Natural Gas
As natural gas is produced in increasingly large volumes, the demand for natural gas is also growing. New applications are being discovered for natural gas and the technologies that do exist are being refined, such as moving towards natural gas heating and natural gas cooking systems after moving towards electrical systems. Residential and commercial usage amounts to over 30% of the natural gas usage throughout the United States, which means that natural gas can have a considerable impact on the economy.
Shutting Down Coal-Powered Plants
There are over 600 existing coal plants in the United States. For much of the last decade, coal use has been significantly higher than natural gas. Due to hydraulic fracturing, natural gas has recently surpassed coal in meeting the country’s energy needs. Natural gas is far preferable to coal because it burns up to 50% cleaner than coal. Presently, the United States uses 17.9% of the coal that is used in the world. Replacing coal-powered plants with natural gas plants could thus reduce carbon emissions significantly throughout the globe.
Economically, natural gas-fired power plants will be able to improve upon costs throughout the nation, thereby making it easier for individuals, small businesses, and even large corporations to continue building and investing within the nation’s infrastructure. Environmentally, natural gas is globally improving the outlook for the future, reducing carbon emissions by up to half by replacing traditionally coal-fired energy resources. As the natural gas industry continues to grow, new investors and businesses are quickly appearing. Safety becomes a paramount concern. Keystone Containment provides full-site turn-key solutions, with a record of zero incidents over 250,000 man hours.