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MAJOR CHANGES AT WE ENERGIES WITH OAK CREEK COAL PLANT SHUTDOWN

When We Energies retires its oldest coal-fired Oak Creek power plants, the company will eliminate 150 or more positions and save about $35 million per year while beginning to analyze natural gas as a possible future energy source for its remaining coal-fired Power the Future plants.

WEC ENERGY GROUP TO ACQUIRE NINETY PERCENT OF SAPPHIRE SKY WIND ENERGY CENTER

WEC Energy Group has announced that the company has agreed to acquire a ninety percent ownership interest in the Sapphire Sky Wind Energy Center. Located in McLean County, Illinois, the project is being developed by Invenergy — a leading global developer and operator of sustainable energy solutions. The Sapphire Sky site will consist of 64 wind turbines with a combined capacity of 250 megawatts. Commercial operation is expected by the end of 2022. Sapphire Sky will generate renewable energy that will be sold under a long-term power purchase agreement with a Fortune 100 global, high-tech company.

WEC Energy Group’s investment is expected to total $412 million for the 90% ownership interest. With this project, the company’s Infrastructure segment has planned investments in eight major wind farms totaling more than 1.5 gigawatts of capacity.

REGULATORS REJECT CLAIMS TRANSMISSION LINE REVIEW WAS TAINTED

State regulators deny they were tainted or biased in their decision to approve a controversial transmission line nearly two years ago. Members of the Public Service Commission have defended their review of the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line as the project’s owners are asking them to revoke that decision and file a new application. The  request follows the discovery of communications between officials linked to companies building the $492 million transmission line and former commissioner Mike Huebsch.

American Transmission Company, ITC Midwest and Dairyland Power Cooperative asked the PSC to file a new application. PSC Chair Rebecca Cameron Valcq spoke strongly against rescinding the order. She rejected claims from project opponents that she and Commissioner Ellen Nowak were tainted in their decision.

XCEL PLANS TO ROLL OUT 10,000 MW OF RENEWABLE ENERGY BY 2030

Xcel Energy is pushing ahead with plans to add 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy generation in Minnesota and Colorado, the utility said during an earnings call with investors. The company plans to continue to advance Xcel’s transition away from fossil-fuel fired plants to renewable sources of energy, having slashed carbon emissions by fifty-one percent in2020 compared to 2005 levels.

CONSTRUCTION SET TO START ON THE 440-ACRE SOLAR PROJECT IN ROCK COUNTY

Ownership of the 50-megawatt North Rock Solar Project, located in the Town of Fulton within Rock County, is officially transitioning from National Grid Renewables to Alliant Energy. This milestone follows recent approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin on Alliant Energy’s filing for 675 megawatts of solar.

EARNINGS: SECOND QUARTER

WEC ENERGY GROUP DECLARES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND
The Board of Directors of WEC Energy Group has declared a quarterly cash dividend of 67.75 cents per share on the company’s common stock. The dividend was payable September 1, 2021, to stockholders of record on August 13, 2021. This marks the 316th consecutive quarter, dating back to 1942, that the company will have paid a dividend to its stockholders.

WEC ENERGY GROUP REPORTS SECOND-QUARTER RESULTS
WEC Energy Group has reported net income of $276.0 million, or 87 cents per share, for the second quarter of 2021 – up from $241.6 million, or 76 cents per share, for the second quarter last year. For the first six months of 2021, the company recorded net income of $786.1 million, or $2.49 per share – up from $694.1 million, or $2.19 per share, in the corresponding period a year ago. Consolidated revenues totaled $4.4 billion for the first six months of 2021, up $710.3 million from revenues for the first half of 2020.
MGEE SECOND QUARTER EARNINGS
MGE Energy has reported second-quarter net income of $22.9 million. The company said it had profit of 63 cents per share. The public utility holding company posted revenue of $130.7 million in the period. MGE shares have increased thirteen percent since the beginning of the year. The stock has increased twenty-two percent in the last 12 months.
ALLIANT ENERGY ANNOUNCES SECOND QUARTER 2021 RESULTS
Alliant Energy Corporation has announced U.S. generally accepted accounting principles consolidated unaudited earnings per share (EPS) for the three months ended June 30 as follows:
“Our purpose-driven strategy has once again delivered solid financial and operating results,” said John Larsen, Alliant Energy Chair, President and CEO. “We recently hosted an ESG Investor Day, showcasing our Corporate Responsibility Report and highlighting our position as a leading utility in the renewable energy transition. We are pleased to share that solid results through the first half of the year have us currently tracking toward the upper half of our 2021 earnings guidance.”

MGE CELEBRATES COMPLETION OF ONE SOLAR PROJECT AND GROUNDBREAKING OF ANOTHER

On July 27, 2021, a crowd of stakeholders, energy professionals, university staff, faculty, and students gathered to celebrate O’Brien Solar Fields, which are currently the largest solar installation in Dane County. The 140-acre solar field includes 60,318 bifacial panels located along a straight stretch of Seminole Highway in Fitchburg.
While two  days later on the East side of Madison, Madison Gas and Electric representatives were joined by themayor of the City of Madison, representatives of NextEra Energy Resources and members of the Hermsdorf family to celebrate the groundbreaking for an 8-megawatt (MW) solar array in Madison known as the Hermsdorf Solar Fields. The Hermsdorf Solar Fields will provide locally generated solar energy to the City of Madison and the Madison Metropolitan School District under MGE’s innovative Renewable Energy Rider.

MEET THE WUI BOARD OF DIRECTOR NOMINEES

WILLIAM (BILL) FINKE received his Civil Engineering degree from the Univ. of Cincinnati in 1960 followed by his M.B.A. from Xavier University. After graduation, Bill served the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a First Lieutenant, Platoon Leader, and Supply Officer. After his military service, Bill returned to Marquette University Law School where he received his J.D.
For the next 45 years, Bill worked for the Wisconsin Energy Corporation (now WEC Energy Group, Inc.) where he retired as the Senior Corporate Counsel. Bill’s love of trains is evidenced in his early surveying and drafting work as an engineering co-op student during his undergrad years to his pro bono work in retirement for the East Troy Railroad Museum, Inc. d/b/a East Troy Electric Railroad. Bill is active in many community organizations, including the American Legion and Veterans.

THOMAS HANSON retired from Alliant Energy Corporation (AEC) as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2016 after a 36-year career with the company. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin with degrees in Accounting and Transportation & Public Utilities, Hansen served AEC his entire career. Working his way up from Accounting to Accounting Supervisor, he worked on tax, treasury, internal audits, and financial planning areas.
He was responsible for strategic planning, investor relations, IT, and insurance and risk management. Hansen served as chair of the Executive Review and Risk Committee, Executive IT Steering Committee, and Investment Committee. Since retiring, Hansen has been volunteering on the boards of multiple non-profits, traveling with his wife, spending time with their 6 grandchildren, and restoring prairie flowers/grasses at their property in Richland County.

ALLIANT ENERGY ANNOUNCES SIX MORE SOLAR PROJECTS

Alliant Energy has announced plans for six solar projects totaling 414 megawatts as part of its move to add 1,000 megawatts of solar power in Wisconsin by 2023. The six projects — projected to cost $515 million — would be in Dodge, Grant, Green, Rock and Waushara counties.

The projects, which will require approval by the Public Service Commission, are in addition to six solar projects totaling 675 megawatts that Alliant announced in May of 2020. Those projects are in Grant, Jefferson, Richland, Rock, Sheboygan and Wood counties.

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STATE REGULATORS APPROVE UTILITIES’ PLANS FOR MANAGING PAST-DUE BILLS

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission has accepted utilities’ plans for managing the amount of money customers owe on unpaid utility bills as many people have fallen behind due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the PSC issued an order in March that barred utilities from disconnecting service due to nonpayment during the COVID-19 crisis. Regulators decided to end the year-long moratorium on utility shutoffs beginning April 15, 2021.

As of February, more than 93,000 residential customers met the threshold for disconnection due to unpaid bills along with roughly 4,800 business customers. By the end of last year, utilities had seen customers’ past-due balances grow to at least $309 million — an increase of fifty-eight percent from the year before.

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LEADERSHIP CHANGE AT ALLIANT SUBSIDIARY TRAVERO

Travero, the Iowa based logistics solutions subsidiary of Alliant Energy and parent company of CRANDIC Rail, has announced a transition in executive leadership. Kevin Burke has retired as President of Travero after 40 years with the company. Lisha Coffey has become the new the president after most recently serving as the company’s Chief Operating Officer.

NEW LAW INCREASES FUNDING FOR THE CITIZENS UTILITY BOARD

A new law signed by Gov. Tony Evers provides for additional funding for the Citizens Utility Board (CUB), which often battles with utilities over rate cases. The changes will allow the PSC to authorize up to $900,000 a year to the CUB with money coming from Wisconsin’s investor-owned utilities. It also revises a 2017 law that encouraged utility settlements in rate cases but created a timing mismatch from when CUB worked on cases and when it could request funding.

WEC ENERGY GROUP UTILITIES WON’T SEEK 2022 RATE INCREASE

WEC Energy Group has announced its utility subsidiaries will not seek approval from state regulators for potential increases to electric, natural gas and steam rates that would have gone into effect January 1. The utilities, which include Wisconsin Electric, Wisconsin Public Service and Wisconsin Gas, would have sought rate increases of four percent to six
percent to recover more than $300 million in revenue deficiencies.

Instead, the utilities are seeking approval from the Public Service Commission to apply certain balances from transmission credits, earnings sharing and cost escrow to cover a portion of the revenue deficiency. Management at the utilities would then be responsible for covering half to two-thirds of the revenue deficiency by finding efficiencies and cost reductions.

MGE LOOKS TO PURCHASE PART OF GRANT COUNTY WIND FARM

Madison Gas and Electric Company is seeking approval to buy part of a Grant County windfarm that would provide enough clean energy to power 4,000 of its households. MGE and the Wisconsin Public Service have announced their intention to ask the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to allow them to purchase the Red Barn Wind Farm. If the proposal is approved, MGE would own 9.1 megawatts of the 92-megawatt wind farm that will be built in the Towns of Wingville and Clifton in Grant County. WPS would own 82.5 megawatts of the 12,000 acre property.
The company said the Red Barn Wind Farm is another opportunity for MGE to invest further in cost-effective, clean energy as it moves toward carbon reductions of at least sixty-five percent by 2030 and a goal of net-zero carbon by 2050. MGE explained the purchasing of the wind farm would help MGE meet energy and capacity needs as it moves away from coal-fired electricity. The company plans to retire the Columbia Energy Center in Portage by the end of 2024.

WE ENERGIES AND WISCONSIN PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCE ANOTHER LARGE-SCALE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECT

We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service, subsidiaries of WEC Energy Group are advancing plans for a new 325-megawatt solar and battery storage project. 
The Darien Solar Energy Center is the company’s second proposed large-scale solar and battery project announced this year. If approved, the $446 million Darien Solar Energy Center would feature 250 MW of solar generation, which is equal to powering 75,000 homes, and 75 MW of battery storage, which can store solar-generated power and provide customers with “sunshine after sunset.” The project is planned to be built in Rock and Walworth counties, Wisconsin. 
Last month, the companies announced plans for the 310-MW Paris Solar-Battery Park. If approved, the $426 million Paris project will be built in Kenosha County, Wisconsin.

GALE KLAPPA AGREES TO STAY AT WEC ENERGY GROUP INTO 2024

Gale Klappa has agreed to stay on as executive chairman of Milwaukee-based WEC Energy Group until May 2024.

XCEL ENERGY PLANS LARGEST SOLAR PROJECT IN WESTERN WISCONSIN

Xcel Energy’s clean energy transition has taken another significant step forward with a recent agreement with Western Mustang Solar, LLC to construct a 74-megawatt solar array to be located on privately owned land in Pierce County, Wisconsin. When completed, it will be owned and operated by Xcel Energy and be the largest solar facility in western Wisconsin.
Xcel Energy currently has more than 760 megawatts of large-scale, universal solar capacity on its system and was the first major utility in the nation to announce a vision to deliver carbon-free electricity to all customers by 2050.
Ranger Power LLC, a utility-scale solar development company, is developing the project on behalf of Western Mustang Solar, LLC. Pierce County approved local permits in August that will be needed to build the project on nearly 1,100 acres of land in the town of Gilman in the northeastern part of the county. Once built, the project is expected to generate nearly $300,000 a year in shared revenue payments for Pierce County and the town of Gilman.

WE ENERGIES WILL RETIRE ITS OLDEST OAK CREEK POWER PLANT BY 2024

We Energies will retire the oldest part of its coal-fired power plant complex in Oak Creek in 2023 and 2024 as its parent company shifts to more efficient power generation, including renewables, as part of its largest-ever capital projects outlay of $16 billion. The retirements will not include the Elm Road Generating Station in Oak Creek, which was part of the $7 billion Power the Future initiative completed a decade ago.

XCEL ENERGY THIRD QUARTER 2020 EARNINGS REPORT

Xcel Energy has achieved strong third quarter results despite the ongoing pandemic and has launched important new initiatives to support customers, employees and communities through these challenging times. As a result, it is narrowing its 2020 earnings guidance to $2.75 to $2.81 per share. In addition, it is initiating 2021 earnings guidance of $2.90 to $3.00 per share. Over the next five years, the company plans to invest $22.6 billion in base capital. It also has proposed to invest an incremental $1.4 billion related to requests from Minnesota to help address the economic impacts of COVID-19. The proposal, which includes grid investment, solar facilities and modernizing aging wind farms, would create 5,000 jobs and expand the company’s renewable portfolio, all while keeping customer bills low. It also outlines a 10-year vision to power 1.5 million electric vehicles, saving customers $1 billion on fueling costs and cutting carbon emissions by nearly 5 million tons annually by 2030.

XCEL ENERGY DECLARES DIVIDEND ON COMMON STOCK

The Board of Directors of Xcel Energy has declared a quarterly dividend on its common stock of 43 cents per share. The dividends are payable January 20, 2021, to shareholders of record on December 23, 2020.