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PSCW Wants State's Energy Efficiency Program to Play a Larger Role in Cutting Emissions

The state’s utility regulators want Wisconsin’s energy efficiency program to play a larger role in cutting carbon emissions as part of efforts to combat climate change.

The Public Service Commission has voted 2-1 for the state’s Focus on Energy program to play a greater role in cost-effectively cutting carbon emissions while continuing to emphasize energy savings. However, Republican lawmakers are wary. 

Commissioners have supported research, planning and investment of resources that would set Focus on a path toward playing a larger role in promoting replacement of fossil fuels with electricity to reduce emissions and energy costs.

The commission stopped short of fully changing Focus on Energy’s goals, opting instead to treat the next four years as a “transitional period” in which the program maintains an emphasis on energy savings while also making “measurable progress” toward reducing carbon emissions.

Alliant Energy Completes First Customer-Hosted Rooftop Solar Site in Dodgeville

The first solar rooftop installation of Alliant Energy’s Customer-Hosted Renewables program is now operational in Iowa County. The 300-kilowatt solar system utilizes over 700 solar panels on 29,000 square feet of Iowa County’s new Law Enforcement Center roof in Dodgeville, Wisconsin. It will provide clean energy to the local electric grid and at maximum output could produce enough energy to power nearly 50 homes.

PSC Awards $10 Million in Energy Innovation Grants for 46 Projects

The Public Service Commission has awarded $10 million in funding from the Energy Innovation Grant Program. The grants went to forty-six projects that reduce energy consumption and demand, install renewable energy and battery storage technologies, and create comprehensive energy plans. Applications for this grant cycle were due on January 14, 2022. The PSC received 105 applications requesting more than $31 million in funding.

“I am thrilled with the grants that were funded today, which will support manufacturers, farms, local governments, schools, nonprofits, and residents across Wisconsin invest in innovative clean energy projects and save on energy costs,” according to PSC Commissioner Tyler Huebner. “The Energy Innovation Grant Program is a vital resource to help in our statewide efforts to keep energy affordable and reduce carbon emissions.”

Madison Solar Project Delivering Locally Generated Clean Energy

Madison Gas and Electric’s latest solar array, the 8-megawatt Hermsdorf Solar Fields, is fully operational and delivering locally generated, sustainable energy to MGE's distribution grid. The project in southeast Madison provides solar energy to the City of Madison and to the Madison Metropolitan School District under MGE's innovative Renewable Energy Rider.

Klappa, Lauber Highlight Year at Annual Meeting

At WEC Energy Group's virtual annual meeting of stockholders Executive Chairman Gale Klappa and President and CEO Scott Lauber highlighted how the company is building a bridge to the future with aggressive environmental goals and a focus on affordable, reliable and clean energy. They also emphasized how the company's focus on efficiency and financial discipline, along with favorable weather and a solid economic recovery in the region, resulted in record net income and earnings per share.  

2021 Company Highlights:

  • Named one of America's most responsible companies by Newsweek Magazine.
  • Developed the largest five-year capital plan in company history, including nearly 2,400 megawatts of new renewable capacity to serve customers of We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service.
  • Announced industry leading environmental goals with an operating plan to achieve them.
  • Sixty percent reduction in CO2 emissions from electric generation by the end of 2025.
  • Eighty percent reduction in CO2 emissions from electric generation by the end of 2030.
  • Net methane neutral in natural gas distribution operations by the end of 2030.
  • Announced a plan to exit from coal for power generation by the end of 2035, with minimal use by the end of 2030.
  • Strengthened the diversity of company leadership, 36 percent of senior vice president and above positions filled by women or minorities compared to 29 percent at year-end 2020.
  • Achieved $270 million in spending with diverse suppliers.
  • Returned $855 million to WEC Energy Group stockholders through dividends.
  • Increased dividends in January 2022 by 7.4 percent to an annual rate of $2.91 per share. This marks the 19th consecutive year of higher dividends.

WEC Energy Group Reports First-Quarter Results

WEC Energy Group has reported net income of $565.9 million, or $1.79 per share, for the first quarter of 2022, up from $510.1 million, or $1.61 per share, for last year's first quarter. Consolidated revenues totaled $2.9 billion, up $216.7 million from the first quarter a year ago.

"A colder than normal winter, a strong economy and the performance of our infrastructure segment were the major factors driving our first-quarter results," said Gale Klappa, Executive Chairman. "The year is off to a solid start as we continue to focus on the fundamentals of our business."

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Alliant Energy Announces First Quarter 2022 Earnings

Alliant Energy Corporation has announced U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) consolidated unaudited earnings per share (EPS) for the three months ended March 31.

“We had a solid start to the year with more than 25 percent of our 2022 guidance midpoint coming in the first quarter, and we are reaffirming our 2022 guidance range of $2.67 to $2.81,” said John Larsen, Alliant Energy Chair, President and CEO. “We are also excited to share yet another major milestone in our purpose-driven clean energy transition, receiving verbal approval today for the remaining 414 megawatts of our nearly 1,100 megawatt proposed solar expansion in Wisconsin.”

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Xcel Energy First Quarter 2022 Earnings Report

Xcel Energy has reported 2022 first quarter GAAP and ongoing earnings of $380 million, or $0.70per share, compared with $362 million, or $0.67 per share in the same period in 2021.

Earnings reflect capital investment recovery and other regulatory outcomes, partially offset by higher depreciation, interest expense and operating and maintenance expenses.

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Xcel VP for Regulatory Affairs Named for Texas-New Mexico Service Area

Brooke Trammell, who has served as regional vice president for Rates and Regulatory Affairs for Xcel Energy’s Colorado jurisdiction since 2018, has accepted the position of Regional Vice President for Regulatory and Pricing for the Texas and New Mexico system, succeeding Bill Grant who is retiring June 1. Trammell has been with Xcel Energy for almost a decade, starting in Amarillo as a regulatory case specialist in September 2012 before taking the role of rate case manager in 2014.

She left regulatory in 2016 when she was named director for Customer and Community Relations in Texas and New Mexico.

 

Transmission Line Delay Will Jeopardize the Delivery of Clean Energy

Utilities seeking to build a transmission line connecting Iowa and Wisconsin are appealing a court decision blocking the Mississippi River crossing and say construction delays could leave the power grid more vulnerable to blackouts, limit clean energy production and lead to higher electricity prices.

Earlier this year, federal Judge William Conley sided with four conservation groups that sued to stop the $492 million Cardinal-Hickory Creek line, finding the environmental review was inadequate and the project is incompatible with the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.

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MGE, WEC Energy to Purchase Additional Solar, Battery Storage

Madison Gas and Electric, in partnership with We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service subsidiaries of WEC Energy Group, has received approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to purchase solar energy and battery storage from the Paris Solar-Battery Park. MGE will own 20 MW of solar energy and 11 MW of battery storage from the 200 MW solar and 110 MW battery storage facility in Kenosha County, Wisconsin.

“We are working every day toward deep carbon reductions and net-zero carbon electricity by 2050,”according to Jeff Keebler, MGE’s Chairman, President and CEO. “The Paris Solar-Battery Park continues the progress we’ve already made increasing renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions and advancing new technologies to benefit all our customers. MGE’s first addition of utility-scale battery storage is a new and important technology to help us reach our sustainable energy goals.”

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Xcel Energy named one of The World’s Most Ethical Companies

For the third year in a row, Xcel Energy has been named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® by Ethisphere, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices. Xcel Energy is one of only nine honorees in the Energy & Utilities category, and one of only five of those companies in the United States recognized this year. In 2022, 136 honorees were recognized spanning 22 countries and 45 industries.

Forbes names Alliant Energy to America’s Best

For the fourth year in a row, Alliant Energy has been named to Forbes list of America’s Best Midsize Employers. Presented by Forbes and Statista Inc., the list spans twenty-five industry sectors and recognizes 500 large and 500 midsize employers in the United States. 


“This recognizes the great people at Alliant Energy and the way they bring our purpose to life,” said Diane Cooke, Vice President of Human Resources at Alliant Energy. “Guided by a shared purpose of supporting customers and building stronger communities, we work together to create a safe workplace where everyone feels like they belong and can use their unique backgrounds, talents and perspectives to their fullest potential.”

American Transmission Co. Announces Promotion

American Transmission Company has named Greg Levesque vice president of external affairs and communications.

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Alliant Energy Addresses Solar Energy Myths: EMF Radiation and Sound

When it comes to solar energy, there is a lot of information out there—but not all of it is accurate. Alliant Energy doesn’t want people misinformed, so it has prepared information aimed at dispelling some of the myths behind solar power.

Myth: Solar panels generate harmful electromagnetic fields.

Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiation. They’re usually associated with the use of electrical power and lighting. EMFs come in two forms: non-ionizing and ionizing. Non-ionizing EMFs are low-level forms of radiation generally perceived as harmless to humans. According to the CDC, effects from non-ionizing radiation are not common. In fact, people come in contact with non-ionizing EMFs through radio and TV waves, cell phones, and microwaves every day without negative health impact.

Similarly, solar panels generate low levels of non-ionizing radiation, but even then, it’s unlikely to reach the general public. People outside of the fenced perimeter of a solar facility are not exposed to a significant amount of EMFs. Therefore, communities around solar farms are not at risk for adverse health issues from EMFs.

What about pacemakers and defibrillators?

Those who rely on medical devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators may still have questions about a solar project’s potential effect on their device. However, research shows there is no reason for concern—EMF levels outside a solar facility’s fence is less than 1/1000 of the level at which manufacturers test these medical devices for EMF interference.

Myth: Solar farms are loud.

Solar projects have gotten an undeserved bad rap for being noisy. In reality, solar farms make very quiet neighbors, especially at night. There are only a few parts of a solar project that generate any audible sound. Tracking solar panels that follow the position of the sun throughout the day do create some sound when they’re moving, but this sound is subtle and not continuous. Inverters and transformers that move electric power to the grid also make sound. However, in typical utility-scale solar farm designs, this equipment is located central to the solar panels that feed them energy. This puts them as far away from the farm’s security fence as possible and reduces the sound that reaches beyond the project’s perimeter. The moving components of a solar farm also operate only during daylight hours when the sun is shining and power is produced. When the sun goes down, there is no audible noise from the solar equipment.

Our First Regional Meeting of 2022 is scheduled and ready for registrations!

 

Our First Regional Meeting of 2022 is scheduled and ready for registrations!   

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