Anthony F. Earley Jr.

Anthony F. Earley, Jr. is planning on changing the way we think about power. The future, believes DTE Energy's chairman and CEO, holds a revolutionary shift from a fossil-based economy to a clean, more secure, hydrogen economy. "It's an exciting vision with promising new technology on the horizon that will forever change the way we live and work," said Earley.

Amid the uncertainties brought on by industry deregulation, a weakened economy, accounting scandals, and mounting environmental pressures, DTE Energy has kept its eye on the future by focusing on "core business excellence" while continuing to create new business growth, especially inventive and efficient technologies for alternative energy powered by hydrogen. That strategy has made DTE Energy one of the most innovative companies to emerge from the traditional utility business.

Earley, chairman and CEO since 1998, is also credited with preparing DTE's workforce culture for a competitive business environment, and was actively involved in Michigan's efforts to restructure the industry in the state.

DTE Energy has a long and proud history as a customer-oriented provider of power in Michigan. The year 2003 marks the company's centennial anniversary. MichCon, DTE's natural gas subsidiary, has been serving customers for more than 150 years, and with its 2001 merger with MCN Energy, DTE became a major regional energy powerhouse. Its energy-related business portfolio includes energy consulting and project management services, a sophisticated energy trading business, and one of the nation's largest purchasers, transporters, and marketers of coal.

In December 2002, DTE Energy announced another strategic business move. The company will be selling its transmission business subsidiary, International Transmission Co. (ITC), to affiliates of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Trimaran Capital Partners L.L.C., making Michigan the first state to have virtually all electric customers served by independent transmission companies. Said Earley of the purchase: "We believe this transaction further enhances our financial flexibility and solid balance sheet position."

This agreement is Earley's latest step that will allow DTE Energy to focus one of its core strategies -- developing new technologies to become the premier integrator of distributed generation, which DTE views as the most promising source of energy for the future. This commitment to distributed generation technologies led the company to create DTE Energy Technologies in 1998. DTE also co-founded Plug Power, which is dedicated to the development of proton exchange member fuel cells for the residential market. "DTE is proud to be in the forefront of the transition" said Early.

Confident that distributed generation is the most promising source of energy for the future, DTE is testing fuel cells in grid-support applications and is currently using distributed generation to supplement the traditional grid where there is congestion during peak periods. "One of the first steps towards a total transformation of energy markets will be a vibrant market for personalized power that uses distributed generation technology" Early said at the DTE Energy Conference in October 2002.

Sharing Earley's vision of a hydrogen-powered economy is the U.S. Department of Energy. Calling it "the dawning of a new era," DOE is partnering with DTE Energy in a three-year project to develop a first-of-its kind hydrogen power park fueled by approximately 15,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. This project, announced by Earley in September 2002, will be a model for a non-fossil fuel-based system, from the generation, to the transmission, storage, distribution, and finally, the conversion of hydrogen into electricity or transportation fuel. "This project," according to Earley, "will provide critical insight into the technical challenges and economic viability of hydrogen as an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional fuels."

When operational, this project will also serve as a prototype of an innovative distributed energy project included in former Michigan Governor John Engler's economic plan, "NextEnergy." Engler's plan, launched in 2002, is a comprehensive blueprint to position Michigan as the world's leading center for the research, development, and commercialization of hydrogen and other alternative energy technologies. This initiative calls for a new research and development park of alternative energy companies - not unlike Silicon Valley - that will speed up the commercialization of these technologies. Earley, who serves on the NextEnergy Board, envisions this project as a critical step in transforming hydrogen technologies into affordable, more efficient, and safer power sources.

Amid DTE Energy's alternative energy, environmentally-friendly initiatives for the future, the company is committed to environmental excellence in the short term, and improving the performance of its existing power plants. According to Earley, DTE Energy is spending more than $600 million in short-term environmental fixes, and an additional $20 million for ongoing operations. DTE Energy is also strong practitioner of environmental stewardship, and participates in many programs that help to protect and enhance the environment and local communities.