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Mitsubishi Power watches as bill moves through Montana Senate

Artist rendering of the Mitsubishi Power Hydrogen Power Plant. Courtesy of Mitsubishi Power.
Artist rendering of the Mitsubishi Power Hydrogen Power Plant. Courtesy of Mitsubishi Power.
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A new House bill regarding green hydrogen energy has continued to the Montana Senate. For businesses looking to build in Montana, like Mitsubishi Power, it could provide more incentives in relocating to the state.

“We continue to see this transition in the energy industry in replacing them with really an unprecedented amount of renewable energy," said Mike Ducker, the vice president of renewable fuels at Mitsubishi Power.

Last year, Mitsubishi Power announced they are working on a partnership with Butte-Silver Bow to reserve a 160-acre lot in the Montana Connections Park.

"Really at the core, it's effectively looking to provide affordable and reliable energy to the state of Montana as well as different parts of the Pacific Northwest,” Ducker said.

One of the newer projects that Mitsubishi Power would work on would be creating green hydrogen. The process involves gathering sunlight and water. By running electricity through the hydrogen molecules, Ducker said they can single out and use hydrogen as an energy source.

“It's that reliable aspect of being able to have these types of units that can support large-scale dispatchable energy to regions that are quite concerned of how they continue to maintain reliability," said Ducker.

While the idea is great in theory, there's one problem -- hydrogen isn't being used as an energy source at this time. Specifically, in Montana, there is no definition of green hydrogen.

"We've been working with the legislature to pass House Bill 170," said Joe Willauer, executive director of Butte Local Development Corporation. "The law itself is to just get hydrogen recognized as an energy source.”

HB 170 would also provide tax incentives for anyone using green hydrogen produced exclusively with renewable energy like sunlight and water.

However, many in Butte are in favor of the bill -- seeing hydrogen as the future.

“Even throughout the state, hydrogen is likely to be one of our bigger energy sources in the future," said Willauer.

Mitsubishi Power said even if the bill does not pass, they still expect to build in Butte, bringing with them more jobs and other businesses interested in investing in the county. But Dunker noted if the bill passes, it will show them Montana is interested in having big businesses come in.

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