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ALLIANT ENERGY'S NEW PORTAGE BATTERY UNIT CAPABLE OF POWERING 5,000 HOMES

Alliant Energy is building a battery storage unit in Portage that will be able to supply power in short stretches to 5,000 homes. Battery storage units store energy from the sun as alternating current power for later use. The new 5-megawatt energy storage system in Portage will double Alliant Energy’s Midwest battery storage capacity. Alliant, like other utilities, has been piloting advances in battery storage technology. The Portage unit will be Alliant’s fourth in the state and eighth in the Midwest.

“Battery storage will ensure we continue to deliver safe, clean and reliable energy to our customers as we grow our renewable energy portfolio,” said David de Leon, President of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin energy company. 

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WISCONSIN'S LARGEST SOLAR FARM WILL BE BUILT IN DANE COUNTY

Wisconsin’s largest solar farm to date has been approved by state regulators, to be constructed later this year on nearly 5,000 acres of farm land in Dane County. The Koshkonong Solar Energy Center will produce enough energy to power about 80,000 homes once it's completed at the end of 2024.

The project is being developed by Invenergy, a Chicago-based developer and will later be sold to Wisconsin Electric Power Company, Wisconsin Public Service Corp. and Madison Gas and Electric Company for $649 million. The solar energy center will include 300 megawatts of solar and a 165 megawatt battery energy storage system on approximately 7 square miles of agricultural land in the towns of Christiana and Deerfield. About 3.75 square miles will be developed for the project.

XCEL ENERGY FOUNDATION LAUNCHES ENERGIZING THE FUTURE GRANT

As the Xcel Energy Foundation opens applications for its 2022 grant program, it’s announcing the launch of Energizing the Future. This new giving plan better aligns Xcel Energy’s business priorities to reflect diversity, equity and inclusion commitments, while creating a stronger community. The Foundation has also increased annual grant funding in 2022 to $4.4 million, from $3.8 million in 2021, for the company’s eight state service area, strengthening the company’s overall community impact.

“We’re only as strong as the communities we serve, and we see these changes as an opportunity to bring even greater value while also recognizing and reinforcing the importance of our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Mark Stoering, president of Xcel Energy, Wisconsin and Michigan. Energizing the Future will consist of three focus areas including STEM career pathways, environmental sustainability and community vitality.

MGE’S NEWEST SOLAR ARRAY SERVES THE CITY OF MADISON AND SCHOOL DISTRICT

Madison Gas and Electric’s latest solar array, the 8-megawatt (MW) 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 (MMSD) under MGE's innovative Renewable Energy Rider (RER).

"We are excited to have this solar array in service, providing carbon-free, cost-effective electricity as we continue to grow our use of renewable energy and move toward net-zero carbon electricity by 2050," said Jeff Keebler, MGE Chairman, President and CEO. "Thank you to the City of Madison and MMSD for their partnership on this project, which provides another source of locally generated clean energy and is another step toward our shared sustainability goals."

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ALLIANT ENERGY & UW–MADISON COLLABORATE

Alliant Energy and the University of Wisconsin–Madison will partner on a solar and agricultural research project to be established on university owned land just west of Lake Kegonsa.

The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System has approved a request from UW–Madison to enter into a lease agreement with Alliant Energy and proceed with the development of the solar and agricultural research project at their Kegonsa Research Campus.

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PEOPLE | May 2022

AMERICAN TRANSMISSION COMPANY ANNOUNCES PROMOTION
American Transmission Co. has named Greg Levesque Vice President of External Affairs and Communications.

In this newly created position, Levesque will oversee policy, government affairs, real estate, environmental, customer relations, interconnection services, local relations and corporate communications.

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WEC ENERGY GROUP ANNOUNCES HYDROGEN POWER PILOT PROGRAM

WEC Energy Group has announced that it is leading a pilot project to test hydrogen as a fuel source for power generation. The company will test co-firing hydrogen with natural gas at one of its power generation plants in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. This is one of the first hydrogen power pilot programs of its kind in the United States.

WEC Energy Group has set some of the most aggressive environmental goals in the energy industry, including net-zero carbon emissions from electric generation by 2050 and net-zero methane emissions from natural gas distribution by the end of 2030. This pilot continues that industry leadership and could help create another viable option for decarbonizing the economy. 

"We're pleased to take a leading role in testing hydrogen in our modern natural gas fueled generation units," according to Gale Klappa, Executive Chairman. "As we bring more renewable energy online, we must ensure that we can keep the lights on when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. The potential of adding hydrogen as a clean generating fuel to our fleet of dispatchable plants is an important step as we bridge to a bright, sustainable future." 

During the pilot project, hydrogen and natural gas will be mixed up to a 25/75 percent blend to power one of the generating units that serves customers of Upper Michigan Energy Resources, a WEC Energy Group subsidiary. The units use a technology known as RICE — reciprocating internal combustion engines. The engines were manufactured by technology company Wärtsilä and began service in 2019.  

WEC Energy Group is partnering with the Electric Power Research Institute the world's preeminent independent, non-profit energy research and development organization, driving innovation to ensure the public has clean, safe, reliable, affordable, and equitable access to electricity across the globe.

ATC BACKS LEGISLATION ON RIGHTS TO TRANSMISSION EXPANSION

The American Transmission Company is urging Wisconsin lawmakers to pass legislation (Senate Bill 838 and Assembly Bill 892) that would provide a right of first refusal for incumbent transmission line owners when building new lines and maintain important Wisconsin based regulatory oversight over the approval process.

Without this legislation, new transmission line projects could be subject to a new, complex, and often contentious federal approval process that could lead to significant delays and loss of Wisconsin based regulatory authority. This legislation will ensure that we continue to have a Wisconsin focused approach to transmission line planning and approval.

The Wisconsin bill enjoys bipartisan support in the legislature including both Republicans and Democrats who sit on legislative committees that oversee utilities. It has attracted an unusual collection of opponents including environmental groups and Americans for Prosperity.

Most midwestern states have adopted similar legislation including Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan. WUI is supporting Senate Bill 838 and Assembly Bill 892 because any expansion of Wisconsin’s transmission infrastructure needs to continue to be based on Wisconsin’s needs and circumstances and be subject to PSC approval and oversight.

ALLIANT ENERGY NAMED ONE OF AMERICA’S BEST MIDSIZE EMPLOYERS

For the fourth year in a row, Alliant Energy was named to Forbes list of America’s Best Midsize Employers. Presented by Forbes and Statista Inc., the list spans 25 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.”

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NEW WPS RENEWABLE ENERGY FACILITY ADDED

WPS has announced it has added another renewable energy facility near Lake Julia in Rhinelander. The facility, which is officially named Hodag Solar Park, is the first large-scale solar park in the Northwoods region to date. Featuring 21,000 solar panels that can capture solar energy on both sides. The Hodag Solar Park is reportedly capable of generating 7.5 megawatts, which is equal to powering more than 2,000 homes.

“This project is another example of our commitment to delivering affordable, reliable, and clean energy to our customers,” according to Scott Lauber, WPS President. “We’re proud to add another source of renewable energy to power homes and businesses in north-central Wisconsin.”

MGE INCREASES ENERGY 2030 CARBON REDUCTION GOAL TO EIGHTY PERCENT

Consistent with its commitment to sustainable energy and to global climate science, Madison Gas and Electric is committing to reducing carbon at least eighty percent by 2030 as it works toward achieving net-zero carbon electricity by 2050. Under its Energy 2030 framework, announced in 2015, the company set a goal of forty percent carbon reduction by 2030, one of the first such goals set by a utility and in alignment with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Since then, the company has said it fully expects to achieve carbon reductions of at least sixty-five percent by 2030. In 2019, MGE established its goal of net-zero carbon electricity by mid-century, consistent with climate science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and analysis of the company’s goal by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

PEOPLE: XCEL ENERGY ANNOUNCES NEW CHIEF HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICER

Bob Frenzel, Xcel Energy’s Chairman, President and CEO, has announced that Patricia Correa joined the company on February 1, 2022 as the new chief human resources officer (CHRO). Correa replaces Darla Figoli, the company’s former Executive Vice President and CHRO whose last day was March 1.

EARNINGS | DIVIDENDS

WEC ENERGY GROUP RAISES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND BY 7.4 PERCENT
The Board of Directors of WEC Energy Group declared a quarterly cash dividend of 72.75 cents per share on the company's common stock, an increase of 7.4 percent over the current quarterly dividend of 67.75 cents per share. This raises the annual dividend rate to $2.91 per share. The higher dividend was paid on March 1, 2022, to stockholders of record on February 14, 2022. This marks the 318th consecutive quarter, dating back to 1942, that the company will have paid a dividend to its stockholders.

WEC ENERGY GROUP POSTS 2021 RESULTS
WEC Energy Group has reported net income of $1.3 billion, or $4.11 per share, for 2021. This compares to earnings of $1.2 billion, or $3.79 per share, for 2020 — a year-over-year increase of 8.4 percent. For the fourth quarter of 2021, WEC Energy Group recorded net income of $224.2 million, or 71 cents per share. This compares to earnings of $239 million, or 76 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 2020. Consolidated revenues totaled $8.3 billion for 2021, up $1.1 billion compared to 2020 revenues.

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LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, CHILDREN OF ALL AGES

It was such a delight to see so many of you in person at our 2021 Annual Meeting of Members in Baraboo, WI! Held at the Baraboo Arts, Banquet, and Convention Center, a historic Circus World building located across the street from the Circus World Museums, this year’s attendees traveled in time from the history which surrounded them to the future which is being aggressively pursued by Wisconsin utilities.

WUI Executive Director, James Buchen, and Chairman of the Board, Roger Cole, opened the Annual meeting with a look back at this past year and a look forward to the work and issues in the coming year. The Treasurer’s report, presented by director Charles Clarke, confirmed that though the past year was a challenge as the pandemic pushed our outreach to membership through virtual meetings and mailed literature, financially we stayed within our budget and, in some areas, cut costs.

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SB490: CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR!

At the 2021 Annual Membership meeting members heard from Kristin Gilkes, Executive Director of the Customers First Coalition. Kristin spoke to the members about Senate Bill 490

Gilkes explained that the bill would authorize community solar programs that could be developed outside of the normal scheme of utility regulation. This would disadvantage the non-participating utility customers who would see their utility bills increase to subsidize those who participate in this unregulated program. She noted that “our neighbors in Minnesota are currently experiencing this preventable disparity.”

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REGULATORS APPROVE DODGE COUNTY SOLAR FARM

Wisconsin regulators have approved a Dodge County solar energy project over the objections of some area residents and two neighboring municipalities.
The Public Service Commission has voted unanimously to authorize construction of the 100-megawatt Springfield Solar Farm, a decision that highlights the growing tensions around land use as Wisconsin phases out fossil fuels. The state’s major utilities are pursuing plans to invest billions of dollars in clean energy generation. Since 2019, the PSC has approved 10 utility-scale solar projects with a cumulative footprint of more than 13,000 acres, which amounts to a little less than 0.1% of the state’s farmland.

XCEL ENERGY NAMES BOB FRENZEL NEW CEO

Xcel Energy has named Bob Frenzel President and CEO of the company. Ben Fowke, the current Chairman will remain at Xcel Energy as Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors. Tim O’Connor was also named Executive Vice-President and Chief Operations Officer.

“I am humbled and honored today to take over as CEO of Xcel Energy. It’s been a privilege to work alongside Ben for the last five years. I am grateful for his leadership, vision and careful stewardship of this great company. This is an exciting time to be in the energy industry, and I look forward to leading us into the future with a focus on our strategic priorities, including being an agile and innovative company and our commitment to elevating the customer experience,” according to Frenzel.

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COMPETITOR ALLOWED TO JOIN CASE IN SALE OF KEWAUNEE NUKE PLANT

A demolition contractor who says it could save Wisconsin utility customers hundreds of millions of dollars will be allowed to participate in a review of plans to sell one of the state’s two nuclear power plants.

Dominion Energy is seeking regulatory approval to sell the Kewaunee Power Station to EnergySolutions, a Utah company that specializes in nuclear waste disposal and decommissioning. The sale price has not been publicly disclosed, but according to applications filed with regulators, EnergySolutions would assume ownership of the plant and about $780 million set aside to cover the cost of decommissioning, estimated at nearly $724 million. But NorthStar Group Services of New York says it could do the job for no more than $550 million, returning any remaining money to ratepayers.

GRANT COUNTY SOLAR PROJECT OFFICIALLY TRANSITIONS TO ALLIANT ENERGY

Ownership of the 200-megawatt Grant County Solar Project, located in the Town of Potosi within Grant County, is officially transitioning from a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC to Alliant Energy. This milestone follows recent approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) on Alliant Energy’s filing for 675 megawatts of solar.

MGE ENERGY: NEWS

REDUCES FLAT CHARGES AS PART OF SETTLEMENT
Madison Gas and Electric has agreed to reduce the flat monthly fees charged to all electricity customers. Those customers will now pay slightly more for the electricity they actually use, according to an agreement filed in early September that sets rates for the next two years.

MGE agreed to trim the monthly residential customer service fee by $2 in each of the next two years, bringing it to $15 in 2023. That’s the lowest it’s been since 2014, when regulators approved an 82% increase.

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