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Ave Bie elected to WEC Energy Group board of directors

Ave M. Bie, a business law, utilities and energy attorney, has been appointed to the board of directors of WEC Energy Group Her appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2023.

"We're delighted that Ave has agreed to join the WEC Energy Group board," said Gale Klappa, Executive Chairman. "Her extensive public and private experience in the utility sector will add another layer of depth to an engaged and effective board of directors."

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MGE HELPING PROPERTY OWNERS MANAGE ENERGY USE

Madison Gas and Electric in partnership with FOCUS ON ENERGY®, has kicked off strategic energy management workshops this summer for multifamily households and property owners. The effort aims to create awareness and boost energy savings from the building level to tenants’ units.

“We are working directly with property managers in our service area and with a variety of buildings in their portfolios,” according to MGE’s Charles Warner, Senior Residential Customer and Digital Engagement Manager - Residential and Community Services. “Our two-pronged approach focuses on operations/maintenance and tenant engagement.”

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ALLIANT ENERGY SUPERCHARGES BATTERY DEPLOYMENT

With major advances in the transition to creating safe, clean renewable energy generation, Alliant Energy announces plans to add 175 megawatts (MW) of battery storage in Wisconsin. The plan, filed with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, calls for battery storage facilities to be developed in Grant and Wood counties, alongside two previously approved Alliant Energy solar arrays. 
“Just like the batteries you’d find in a cell phone, laptop or car, the storage systems we’re developing can deliver energy to power our lives when we need it,” said David de Leon, President of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin energy company. “As we transition to cleaner, more cost-effective renewable energy, the added capacity and unique capabilities of these energy storage solutions will strengthen our generation portfolio, improve reliability and help meet customer needs. It’s just one more way we’re delivering on our purpose-driven strategy.”
The Grant County battery project (100 MW/400 MWh), located at the Grant County Solar site in the town of Potosi, could store enough energy to power over 100,000 Wisconsin homes for four hours. The Wood County battery project (75 MW/300 MWh), located at the Wood County Solar site in the town of Saratoga, could store enough energy to power over 80,000 Wisconsin homes for four hours. Alliant Energy has worked closely with these communities over the past several years to maximize the economic and environmental benefits of the company’s renewable energy investments.


ALLIANT ENERGY’S WOOD COUNTY SOLAR PROJECT AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

Completion of Alliant Energy’s Wood County Solar Project marks a major milestone for the community of Saratoga in central Wisconsin. In addition to generating clean, carbon-free electricity, the 150-megawatt (MW) solar site created more than 200 construction jobs and is expected to deliver an estimated $600,000 in new shared revenue annually to the town and county for the next 30 years.
“Alliant Energy has a strong presence in our region, and knew when it took on this project it was going to be a big win for families and business,” according to Angel Whitehead, President of the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce. “This solar site has already spurred innovation and growth within the community. We are excited for the future and the continued growth surrounding renewable energy development.”
Construction of the Wood County Solar Project began in June 2021. Burns & McDonnell, the project’s EPC contractor,
completed construction ahead of schedule despite supply chain disruptions, tough weather conditions and COVID challenges. The project relied on the skilled work and craftsmanship of operating engineers, carpenters, laborers and electricians from several local union halls, increasing the project’s positive economic impact.

WISCONSIN REGULATORS APPROVE MGE VEHICLE CHARGING PROGRAMS

Regulators have approved a suite of programs designed to allow Madison Gas and Electric to better understand and manage charging patterns. Wisconsin utility regulators have approved a suite of electric vehicle charging programs that the utility says will help the it prepare for the emerging technology while lowering costs for consumers. The Public Service Commission voted unanimously approve three new charging programs for homeowners, apartment dwellers and fleet managers and cement a program that MGE has been testing over the past six years. MGE says the programs, allowing the utility to remotely manage vehicle charging, are needed as vehicle manufacturers spend billions of dollars to roll out hundreds of new models in the next three years. The company cited projections by the Brattle Group that the number of EVs on the nation’s roads could jump from 1.5 million in 2020 to as many as 35 million by the end of the decade.

XCEL ENERGY SENT SUPPORT AS HURRICANE IAN HIT FLORIDA

Xcel Energy sent support to Florida for restoration efforts as Hurricane Ian made landfall. Xcel Energy provided
approximately 270 contract workers. The line workers were from Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, Minnesota,
North Dakota, South Dakota, New Mexico and Texas.

“When the call for help came in, Xcel Energy and the entire electric industry answered that call,” says Bob Frenzel,
Chairman, President and CEO of Xcel Energy. “When our customers experience adverse conditions, we know that
they would do the same for us. It’s imperative that the electric companies work together to ensure the resiliency of
our essential product as storm volatility increases.”

WPS OFFERS RARE LOOK INSIDE RENEWABLE ENERGY STATION

Wisconsin’s Northwoods region offers endless ways to enjoy the outdoors, from muskellunge fishing in Boulder Junction to cross-country skiing along the Ice Age Trail in Tomahawk. Wisconsin Public Service (WPS) offers a unique way to experience the area’s natural beauty through a self-guided tour of its Otter Rapids hydroelectric
power plant west of Eagle River off Highway 70.  Otter Rapids Hydro is nestled along the banks of the Wisconsin River, west of Eagle River. The hydroelectric power plant uses the flow of the river to produce affordable, reliable and clean energy for WPS customers and has been generating clean energy for more than 100 years. It also helps control water levels for the Eagle River lakes system, which is part of the world’s largest chain of freshwater lakes.

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STOP NON-REGULATED UTILITY OPERATIONS!

Legislative Issues

ACTION ALERT

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ACT NOW! STOP NON-REGULATED UTILITY OPERATIONS!

Link to Comment on  Docket 9300-DR-105

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Xcel Energy Announces Vision to Power All Vehicles With Carbon-Free Energy by 2050

Xcel Energy has announced a new transportation vision that drives toward providing the infrastructure and energy to run all vehicles in its service area on carbon-free electricity or other clean energy by 2050. Expanding upon the company’s existing 2030 electric vision supports its overall goal to become a net-zero energy provider by 2050. By enabling a zero-carbon transportation future, the company’s clean energy can also help customers save billions of dollars in fuel costs and deliver cleaner air for everyone.

“Xcel Energy is making incredible progress and has already reduced power sector carbon emissions by fifty percent since 2005,” said Bob Frenzel, Chairman, President, and CEO of Xcel Energy. “As we expand our clean energy leadership to transportation, which is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the nation, we know that electric vehicles are a key component of our comprehensive strategy to be a net-zero energy provider by 2050.”

MGE Energy Increases Dividend for 47th Consecutive Year

The Board of Directors of MGE Energy has announced an increased the regular quarterly dividend rate approximately five percent to $0.4075 per share on the outstanding shares of the company's common stock. The dividend is payable September 15, 2022, to shareholders of record September 1, 2022. This raises the annualized dividend rate by eight cents from $1.55 per share to $1.63 per share.

"Today's dividend increase marks the company's 47th consecutive year of increasing its dividend, an accomplishment that everyone at MGE Energy can be proud of. We recognize the importance of dividend growth to the overall shareholder value proposition," Chairman, President and CEO Jeff Keebler said. "We continue to move forward in our clean energy transition to achieve our goals of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and carbon reductions of at least 80% by 2030. Today's action by our board demonstrates the continued strength and resilience of MGE Energy's long-term business strategy in building your community energy company for the future."

MGE Energy has increased its dividend annually for the past 47 years and has paid cash dividends for more than 110 years.

ATC Named to Best Workplaces in List

Great Place to Work® and Fortune magazine have honored American Transmission Company as one of the 2022 Best Workplaces in Manufacturing & Production™. This is the fifth consecutive year ATC was named to this prestigious list, and the seventh overall time, this year coming in at number 13 on the list. Earning a spot means that ATC is one of the best companies to work for in the country.

The Best Workplaces in Manufacturing & Production award is based on analysis of survey responses from 57,000 current employees in the manufacturing and production industry category. In that survey, eighty-eight percent of ATC’s employees said ATC is a great place to work compared to fifty-seven percent of employees at the average U.S. company.

Wind Farm Site Being Prepped for Turbine Construction

Construction activities are underway at the future site of the Red Barn Wind Farm in Grant County. A subsidiary of Madison Gas and Electric will purchase a ten percent share of the 92-megawatt (MW) project when it’s complete.

Minnesota-based ALLETE Clean Energy is constructing the wind farm, which will consist of 28 turbines over about 12,000 acres. The land hosting the turbines will be leased from local landowners, who may continue to use it for farming or grazing. MGE’s share of the project is expected to generate enough energy to power about 4,000 households.

The company’s investment in the Red Barn Wind Farm is one of several renewable energy projects in various stages of development.

Natural Gas Wholesale Commodity Prices Increase; Xcel Explains How Customers Can Save Energy and Money

The price of natural gas affects both natural gas service and electric service because natural gas is also used to generate electricity. The cost of natural gas is paid directly by customers without any markup from Xcel Energy.

Wholesale natural gas prices continue to increase, hitting a fifteen year high. The wholesale price of natural gas was also higher than anticipated in the third quarter, leading to an under-collection from electric customers.

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Alliant Energy named a Top Utility in Economic Development

Site Selector Magazine has announced that for the fourth consecutive year Alliant Energy has earned their Top Utility in Economic Development honor. The annual list recognizes the company for its contributions to local community development and job creation.   

In its September issue, Site Selection credits Alliant Energy’s economic development team, in collaboration with local, regional and state economic development partners in Iowa and Wisconsin, for delivering more than $2.1 billion in new capital investment and creating more than 4,400 new jobs in 2021.  

Alliant Energy is one of twenty companies nationally named to the list and the only one in Iowa. In all, there are 3,300 utility companies, including 900 electric cooperatives, in the United States. 

XCEL ENERGY RECEIVES APPROVAL FOR MINNESOTA’S LARGEST SOLAR PROJECT TO REPLACE COAL GENERATION

Xcel Energy will move forward to build Minnesota’s largest-ever solar project at the Sherco plant site in Becker, as it transitions away from using coal at the site in the coming years. Today, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) provided the final approvals needed for Sherco Solar, which is a key component of Xcel Energy’s plan to nearly triple the amount of solar on its Upper Midwest system by 2028.

In addition to being the largest single solar development in Minnesota, the Upper Midwest and among the largest in the United States, Sherco Solar will provide clean energy while also being the lowest-cost solar on Xcel Energy’s Upper Midwest system. It will also create jobs and investment in the Becker community as the Sherco coal plant is retired in the coming years. The solar project will serve as a direct replacement for most of the capacity of the first coal unit retiring at the Sherco plant.

WISCONSIN UTILITIES EXPECT TO SPEND MORE THAN $2B ON NEW TRANSMISSION

Utilities and renewable advocates say the projects will aid the clean energy transition, but some consumer groups have expressed concerns about the costs. Three new transmission lines that are estimated to cost around $2.2 billion will cross through Wisconsin under a large expansion approved by the Midwest grid operator that’s designed to facilitate the clean energy transition.

The Board of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator signed off on a $10.3 billion portfolio of 18 transmission projects for the Upper Midwest on July 25. The lines are expected to support 53 gigawatts of renewable energy and provide between $23 to $52 billion in benefits as utilities retire aging coal plants. Projects in Wisconsin are slated to start coming online as early as 2028.

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XCEL ENERGY PROPOSES EXPANDING ELECTRIC VEHICLE PROGRAMS AND HIGH-SPEED PUBLIC CHARGING

To help drive toward the future of clean transportation, Xcel Energy is proposing new and enhanced electric vehicle charging programs and high-speed public charging options in Wisconsin and Minnesota to make charging at home and on the go easy, fast and more affordable for all customers. The plan also includes new EV programs and solutions supporting businesses, multifamily buildings, community charging, transit and electric school buses.
“Interest in EVs continues to grow and the expansion of both private and public charging will help customers address range anxiety and achieve significant savings on their transportation costs while delivering cleaner air for everyone,” according to Mark Stoering, President, Xcel Energy-Wisconsin and Michigan.
This current proposal dramatically increases the number of public EV charging stations in the region, making it easier for drivers to charge on the go, by potentially adding 750 high-speed charging stations across Wisconsin and Minnesota. The company will work with interested communities and site hosts on locations for charging stations in both urban and rural areas, particularly along interstates, state highways and other traffic corridors.
The proposal also enhances the successful EV Accelerate at Home program, which provides a turn-key option working with local electricians to install a home charger, in both states to better meet customers’ needs and expands programs and charger options to help businesses provide EV charging for employees, renters, fleet vehicles and the public.
”Transportation is the largest source of carbon emissions in the U.S., and our plan supports Minnesota’s target of having 20% of light duty vehicles in our state be electric by 2030 – not only because it reduces emissions and delivers cleaner air, but because charging an EV at home is the equivalent of about a $1 per gallon when charging overnight,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. “This means real savings for drivers and, importantly, our plan positions both Xcel Energy and the Upper Midwest as a national leader in accessible, affordable charging options through innovative customer programs and infrastructure.”

ALLIANT ENERGY COMPLETES KOHLER, SHEBOYGAN SOLAR PROJECTS

Two Alliant Energy Customer-Hosted Renewables projects, the City of Sheboygan Solar Field and Kohler Solar Field, both recently became operational. The two projects highlight the flexibility of the Alliant Energy Customer-Hosted Renewables program, working with both public and private customers to make meaningful advancements in clean energy. In total, the projects could generate enough power for roughly 760 homes annually at maximum output.
“We are pleased to advance our transition to clean energy with the completion of the city of Sheboygan and Kohler solar projects,” according to David de Leon, President of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin energy company. “Sheboygan-area residents will have access to the energy generated from these solar fields – just another example of how we keep customers at the heart of everything we do.”
The City of Sheboygan Solar Field utilizes land at the Sheboygan Business Center for a 1-MW solar project. The city will showcase the benefits of clean energy while receiving lease payments for twenty-five years.

INFLATION REDUCTION ACT – ENERGY ISSUES

Most economists agree that the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act will not actually impact inflation but it does contain provisions that will have a major impact on the energy industry including electric utilities. More than half of the spending in the bill - $385 billion – goes to climate and energy spending and tax breaks over the next five to ten years.

The bill includes extending the solar investment tax credit of 30% through 2033, extending the wind production tax credit through 2033, creation of a $30 billion loan/grant program to decarbonize the grid, creation of a interstate transmission line grant program and a new credit for qualified nuclear facilities. The bill also contains provisions designed to stimulate hydrogen production and a $7,500 tax credit to buy new electric vehicles along with a $4,000 credit for lower/middle income taxpayers to buy used electric vehicles.

Many of these provisions will benefit electric utilities. Look for a more detailed analysis in the next edition of the Voice.