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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.