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ALLIANT ENERGY TO CLOSE ITS LAST WISCONSIN COAL PLANT

Alliant Energy has announced it will shutter its last remaining coal plant in Wisconsin by the end of 2024. The closure moves Alliant closer toward the company’s goal of eliminating coal from its power mix by 2040 and cutting carbon emissions by fifty percent by 2030 from 2005 levels. The move is expected to save ratepayers more than $250 million that would be spent to keep the plant running, according to David de Leon, President of Alliant’s utility in Wisconsin.

Alliant released a $900 million plan in May to add 675 megawatts of solar across six counties as part of a goal to add 1,000 megawatts of solar power by the end of 2023 which would power about 260,000 homes. Wisconsin Power and Light, Alliant’s utility in Wisconsin, anticipated its Clean Energy Blueprint would save customers between $2 billion and $6.5 billion over the next 35 years. Alliant co-owns the coal plant with Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) and Madison Gas and Electric

XCEL ENERGY REPORTS 2020 YEAR END EARNINGS

Xcel Energy has reported 2020 GAAP and ongoing earnings of $1.47 billion, or $2.79 per share, compared with $1.37 billion, or $2.64 per share in the same period in 2019.

“Xcel Energy had a strong year despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19,” said Ben Fowke, chairman and CEO. “We achieved major milestones while keeping our employees and customers safe and are well positioned for the coming year and beyond.”

“I’m proud of the support we provided our communities, committing nearly $20 million to short and long-term corporate giving. Our $750 million plan to repower several wind farms in Minnesota was approved, which is expected to result in substantial customer savings and jobs creation. In Colorado, we received approval for an electric vehicle plan and are excited about the related opportunities. We also announced the early retirement of the Hayden and Craig coal plants and plans to convert our Harrington facility to natural gas. These achievements move us closer to achieving our goals of an 80 percent carbon reduction by 2030 and delivering 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.”

XCEL ENERGY ONE OF FIRST U.S. PROVIDERS TO REACH 10,000-MEGAWATTS OF WIND POWER

At the end of 2020, Xcel Energy became one of the first energy providers in the United States to reach 10,000 megawatts of wind energy capacity online for customers in the states it serves. The milestone is powered by the company’s 10 new wind projects in the Upper Midwest, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico.

As new projects continue to come online in 2021, the company estimates more than thirty-one percent of its nameplate energy capacity will come from wind by the end of the year. Additionally, Xcel Energy owns and operates much of the new wind, increasing its owned projects from 850 megawatts, to 4,469 megawatts by the end of the year.

COMMUNITIES RECEIVED $8.7 MILLION FROM ALLIANT ENERGY

To support customers and communities in Iowa and Wisconsin, Alliant Energy, its Foundation and employees achieved a collective impact of $8.7 million and over 64,000 volunteer hours in 2020.

WISCONSIN PSC TO STUDY ROOFTOP SOLAR POTENTIAL

The Public Service Commission has voted to spend up to $181,000 in ratepayer funds to study the potential for customer-owned generation, paying special attention to low-income households. The results could inform the commission’s policy decisions in the coming years, particularly on how to allocate resources within Focus on Energy, the statewide energy savings program.

“This type of study is going to be essential to figure out what the balance is between renewables and efficiency,” said Commissioner Tyler Huebner, who noted the potential for energy savings is diminishing as LED bulbs become the standard. “If we don’t have this study, we’re going to be guessing in the dark.”

Wisconsin typically studies the potential for energy efficiency gains every four years, but it hasn’t looked at solar energy since 2009 when rooftop solar was little more than a novelty. As of 2019, there were 6,646 customer-owned systems with a combined capacity of roughly 100 megawatts.

REPAIRING DAMAGE TO WE ENERGIES HEADQUARTERS HITS $60 MILLION

The costs of repairing WEC Energy Group’s downtown Milwaukee headquarters, from what the company said was a superheated steam release when the company’s underground steam-power tunnels flooded in May 2020, have risen to an estimated $60 million. Wisconsin Electric customers will be required to pay a portion of the costs not covered by insurance, but the company has absorbed some of the costs. The company’s initial estimate in June 2020 was about $10 million, but by August 2020, Wisconsin Electric estimated restoration work would cost up to $37 million in a letter to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin.

WEC ENERGY: 4TH QUARTER EARNINGS REPORTED

WEC Energy Group has reported fourth-quarter net income of $239.3 million. The company said it had a profit of 76 cents per share. The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The electricity and natural gas provider posted revenue of $1.93 billion in the period. For the year, the company reported a profit of $1.2 billion, or $3.79 per share. Revenue was reported as $7.24 billion. WEC Energy expects full-year earnings to be $3.99 to $4.03 per share.

UW-PLATTEVILLE TO BUILD LARGEST STATE-OWNED SOLAR PROJECT

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville has received state approval to construct a 2.4 megawatt solar array in Memorial Park. This will be the largest solar array owned by a Wisconsin state agency and will make the university the sixth-highest on-site producer of renewable energy among higher education institutions in the nation, setting UW-Platteville apart as a leader in its commitment to renewable energy.

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ALLIANT ENERGY COMPLETING TOWN OF BELOIT SOLAR POWER PROJECT

Initial construction on a new Alliant Energy solar energy field is wrapping up. The company says the new West Riverside Energy Center is operating smoothly and serving hundreds of thousands of customers. Bob Newell, Senior Manager of Strategic Projects, said the 4-megawatt solar energy field in the Town of Beloit is expected to be fully operational by March. Newell said the auxiliary power produced by the solar panels will boost the main natural gas-fired plant’s overall productivity.

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ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS SUE WISCONSIN REGULATORS OVER MGE RATES

Environmental and solar activists Sierra Club and Vote Solar are suing Wisconsin regulators over approval of an electric rate freeze for Madison Gas and Electric customers that they say discriminates against low-income customers and discourages investment in energy efficiency and rooftop solar. The Dane County Circuit Court has been asked to review the Public Service Commission’s approval of a one-year rate structure negotiated between the utility, consumer advocates and UW-Madison.

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FORMER ATC FOUNDER AND CEO DIES

UW University System Regent José Delgado has died. Delgado was creator of the American Transmission Company and served as its initial President and CEO.

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XCEL ENERGY SECOND QUARTER 2019 EARNINGS REPORT

Xcel Energy has reported 2019 second quarter GAAP and ongoing earnings of $238 million, or $0.46 per share, compared with $265 million or $0.52 per share in the same period in 2018.

Earnings reflect higher electric and natural gas margins primarily due to non-fuel riders and regulatory rate outcomes, more than offset by 5 cents per share of unfavorable weather, increased depreciation, interest and operating and maintenance expenses.

“Despite the milder than normal weather in the second quarter, Xcel Energy’s year-to-date earnings are on track, and we are well-positioned to deliver earnings within our guidance range for the year,” said Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy.

“I am pleased that we have filed our Upper Midwest Resource Plan, which is another significant step forward in our industry leading drive to reduce carbon emissions while ensuring reliability and affordability,” said Fowke. “This plan achieves an 80% reduction in carbon emissions in the region by 2030, through the early retirement of the remaining coal units in the Upper Midwest, by substantially growing the amount of renewables on our system and adding new firm peaking resources to ensure continued reliability. This plan is a key stepping stone toward the company achieving its vision to provide customers 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.”

ALLIANT ENERGY WORKS TOWARD A CLEANER ENERGY FUTURE

Alliant Energy has released its Corporate Sustainability Report. The report outlines Alliant Energy’s continuing efforts to meet the ever-changing needs of their customers in an affordable, safe, reliable and sustainable way.

“Our world is changing – and so are we,” said Alliant Energy Chairman, President and CEO John Larsen. “We’re listening 
to our customers, employees and key stakeholders and continuing to evolve how we do business. Every day, our work is focused on enhancing the environmental, social and economic conditions of the communities we have the honor to serve.”

Alliant Energy has been transitioning toward cleaner energy for more than a decade. Between 2016 and 2020, the company expects to spend approximately $2 billion on new company-owned wind generation. By the end of 2020, Alliant Energy will own 12 wind farms with the capacity to power nearly 600,000 homes. This equals the energy 
needed to power about 60% of the company’s residential customer base.

Alliant Energy is targeting a 40% reduction in carbon emissions below 2005 levels by 2030 and an 80% reduction by
2050. Last year, the company was among the first utilities to state that it plans to eliminate all existing coal from its
energy mix by 2050.

MGE ENERGY REPORTS SECOND-QUARTER EARNINGS

MGE Energy’s earnings for the second quarter of 2019 were $15.5 million, or 45 cents per share, compared to $18.3 million, or 53 cents per share, for the same period in the prior year.

During the second quarter of 2019, electric net income decreased due to lower residential customer usage resulting from cooler weather in June compared to the same period in the prior year. Gas net income decreased during the quarter primarily related to lower gas retail sales attributable to warmer weather in April 2019 compared to the same period in the prior year.

WE ENERGIES SPENDING $200M AS A POLAR VORTEX FIX

WEC Energy Group has cited challenges the company faced during last winter’s polar vortex as a major reason for spending $200 million strengthening its natural-gas infrastructure in southeast Wisconsin.

WE ENERGIES WORKS TO SOLVE A PROBLEM

The Milwaukee-based utility provider wants to reduce its turnover among workers in the city. People who live outside Milwaukee will start working in the city, said John Glynn, an area manager for We Energies. But when opportunities open closer to their home, they transfer.

“What we’re striving for is to get a strong pool of diverse, skilled candidates that live and want to work in the city,” Glynn said. To resolve the issue, Glynn said, We Energies established a relationship with Milwaukee Public Schools to create a workforce pipeline. The company has two programs – with a third in the works – to give students professional experience in different areas of We Energies’ operations. While solving its own workforce needs, We Energies is also engaging a population that has changed the ways it participates in the labor force.

WEC ENERGY GROUP VIEWS SOLAR FOR FOXCONN’S ENERGY NEEDS

Although there have been many changes to Foxconn Technology Group’s plans for its Mount Pleasant campus, the Chairman of WEC Energy Group says there is still a possibility the utility would at least partially meet the company’s energy needs with a large scale solar array at the site.

The 22 million-square-foot LCD fabrication facility originally proposed by Foxconn would have required 230 megawatts. Gale Klappa, Chairman of WEC Energy Group, indicated the utility and company has considered using solar for 100 to 150 megawatts of that demand. 

Foxconn’s plans have changed significantly from the original project with the company opting for a smaller LCD plant and more product flexibility instead of building large display panels. The company’s first main manufacturing facility will be around 1 million square feet.

Klappa noted Foxconn had “substantially reworked” the first phase of their plans during the first quarter of the year. He said the utility does not expect much change in energy demand for the project’s first phase, pointing in particular to a high-capacity data center planned to support the campus’ research activities.