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Columbia County may soon be home to one of the most sustainable, advanced energy storage systems in the country, according to Alliant Energy. The company has announced it has been selected for a grant of up to approximately $30 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) for a proposed 200-megawatt hour energy storage system. 

Alliant Energy’s new battery system, known as the Columbia Energy Storage Project, would be the first-of-its-kind in the United States and represents a significant advancement toward a more sustainable, reliable and cost-effective energy future.


Xcel Energy has announced that Timothy Welsh has been elected to the company’s board of directors, effective immediately.

Welsh, who currently serves as Vice Chair for U.S. Bancorp’s Consumer and Business Banking, is an accomplished business and community leader with decades of experience in a variety of diverse fields, including financial services, customer experience, workforce development, and operations. Across several industries, Welsh’s work has centered on understanding consumer behavior and creating strategies to respond to consumer preferences. Welsh also brings a passion for helping enhance the vitality of the community and opportunities for its residents.

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A first of its kind energy storage system will be coming to Wisconsin in the next few years and could serve as a blueprint for wide-scale deployment across the country.

Alliant Energy has announced it has received a $30 million federal grant for a 200-megawatt-hour storage system in Columbia County. 

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More than half of the power Xcel Energy generates across the eight states it serves now comes from carbon-free sources, the company announced in its 18th annual Sustainability Report.
Carbon-free energy made up 53 percent of the company’s 2022 energy mix, compared to an average of 41 percent nationwide. The company has also reduced carbon emissions associated with the electricity it provides to customers by 53 percent from 2005 levels. The Sustainability Report details the company’s progress in transitioning to clean energy while maintaining reliable and affordable natural gas and electricity service, as well as the company’s commitments to further strengthen communities and value the people that make up its workforce.
“Xcel Energy is at the heart of our nation’s clean energy transition,” said Bob Frenzel, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Xcel Energy. “Guided by our customers’ priorities and enabled by rapidly changing technology, we’re driving toward a clean energy future, bringing reliable, affordable, increasingly clean energy to millions.”
Xcel Energy was the first U.S. energy provider to set aggressive goals to reduce carbon emissions from the most significant ways customers use energy: for electricity, heating and transportation. In 2018, the company set a goal to provide customers with 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050 and reduce carbon emissions from its operations by 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. 
The company has begun to implement its Colorado and Upper Midwest energy plans, which outline the new energy generation, transmission infrastructure, and other resources it will develop to meet its 2030 goal. Xcel Energy also plans to exit from coal by the end of 2030 if regulators approve its proposal to retire coal operations at Tolk Generating Station in Texas four years ahead of schedule. To support the reliability and resiliency of the grid as this transition continues, the company is helping to incubate and scale emerging technologies, including demonstration-scale projects in long-duration battery storage and clean hydrogen production. Xcel Energy also continues to develop new transmission lines and in 2022 received approval for Colorado’s 560- to 650-mile Power Pathway project. The company has built more miles of transmission over the last 15 years than any other utility in the U.S.
Through the clean energy transition, the company is reducing other environmental impacts of its operations as well. Since 2005, Xcel Energy has reduced water consumption from owned and purchased energy generation by 39 percent and air emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from its power plants by about 80 percent.


WEC Energy Group executives say the Wisconsin-based utility holding company will lead a test of a new type of long-duration energy storage at its 266.6MW Valley natural gas plant in Milwaukee. The nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute and German manufacturer CMBlu Energy AG will use the site to run a flow battery made with components from abundant, recyclable materials. The battery will be tested for discharge durations of up to 10 hours, starting in the fourth quarter of 2023. "We believe it can store energy for up to twice as long as the typical batteries in use today," Gale Klappa, WEC's Executive Chairman, said during a Feb. 2 earnings call. "We plan to launch the project at our Valley Power Plant near downtown Milwaukee in the fourth quarter of this year when temperatures turn cold. The results will be shared in early 2024 across the industry.

"These batteries are expected to provide safe and reliable operation, with a high energy density that will enable compact solutions for a variety of applications for electric utilities," the company said in its news release. WEC is yet another U.S. utility searching for reliability solutions to replace fossil fuel generation with billions of dollars worth of new intermittent wind and solar plants over the decade. WEC is also partnering with the EPRI on a hydrogen project. Citing the availability of new U.S. tax credits for renewable energy projects, WEC in late 2022 announced a revised five-year capital plan of $20.1 billion. It will allocate $7.3 billion to building up to 3,300 MW in new wind, solar and storage projects as it retires its coal capacity by 2035.”

Klappa said the company expects the five-year investment plan to drive compound earnings growth of 6.5 percent to seven percent per year over the period 2023 through 2027.