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XCEL ENERGY RECEIVES GRANT TO BOOST WILDFIRE MITIGATION AND GRID RESILIENCY

Xcel Energy has been selected for a $100 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy to boost its work to reduce and mitigate the threat of wildfires and ensure the resiliency of the grid through extreme weather.

The funding, provided through the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships program and matched by a $140 million cost share provided by Xcel Energy, will support a range of projects that enhance the grid’s resiliency in the face of fires, severe storms, and other adverse environmental conditions to better protect lives, homes and forests while reducing and preventing power outages. The projects will be based in Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas and Wisconsin.

“We recognize that the year-round risk of wildfires has grown, along with the severity of storms and other weather events that threaten the grid,” said Bob Frenzel, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy. “This funding from the Department of Energy will enhance our ability to meet this rising challenge with decisive action while reducing carbon emissions and ensuring reliable affordable and clean power for our customers.”

As climate conditions have changed, environmental impacts to the power grid have grown more severe and frequent. Areas with traditional fire seasons, for example, have seen them evolve into year-round battles against rapidly changing and extreme weather conditions that can generate larger, more intense and faster-moving wildfires.

Xcel Energy is a leader in the clean energy transition, moving forward at a pace and scale that allows the company to reach net-zero carbon emissions responsibly and meet emissions reductions goals that align with science-based climate targets. The company is continually making strategic investments and improvements to strengthen the power grid, build resilience, and increase its situational awareness of risks.

Since 2019, Xcel Energy has invested over $450 million in wildfire mitigation activities in Colorado alone to strengthen its systems and better protect communities and the natural environment.

The projects will take a number of steps to boost grid resiliency, including adding fire-resistant coatings to 6,000 wood poles, improving equipment safety features in power lines and electric vehicle chargers in high fire risk conditions, moving high-risk distribution circuits underground, and enhancing vegetation management. They will also build on current programs using emerging technology, such as drones aided by artificial intelligence that inspect power lines for safety, wind strength testing, satellite identification of trees that pose a risk and modeling software to predict how fires would spread.

In addition, the funding will support greater resilience for communities of color. Xcel Energy will use Department of Energy funds to complement an equal investment in customer-funded microgrids in the Resilient Minneapolis Project, which aims to support underserved communities in Minneapolis by providing solar, battery and microgrid technologies to strengthen community resiliency. Microgrids at key community center locations will allow critical services to be delivered to communities in the event of a grid outage.

ALLIANT ENERGY WILL INCREASE ELECTRIC RATES OVER TWO YEARS

Alliant Energy's Wisconsin residential electric customers will pay about $10 more per month, on average, for electric service next year under a two-year rate plan approved by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.

The following year, rates will go up again, adding another $8 per month to the average bill, according to a preliminary analysis by PSC staff.

By 2025, the average residential customer will pay an additional $214 per year for electric service, 16 percent more than this year. Customers' bills for natural gas service will increase about $4 a month in 2024, but will be essentially flat in 2025, according to the PSC analysis.

XCEL ENERGY, HEARTLAND HYDROGEN HUB AWARDED FEDERAL GRANT

The U.S. Department of Energy has selected the Heartland Hydrogen Hub, including multiple clean hydrogen projects from Xcel Energy, for award negotiations to receive up to $925 million. The award will serve as a catalyst for a future hydrogen ecosystem in the Upper Midwest.
The Heartland Hydrogen Hub (HH2H) is one of seven selected to receive funding. The hub includes Xcel Energy, Marathon Petroleum Corporation and TC Energy, in collaboration with the University of North Dakota’s Energy & Environmental
Resource Center, to produce and use low-carbon hydrogen at commercial scale in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana. The hub aims to reduce carbon emissions by more than 1 million metric tons per year, the equivalent of taking 220,000 gasoline-powered cars off the road.

EARNINGS - DECEMBER 2023

XCEL ENERGY THIRD QUARTER 2023 EARNINGS REPORTED
Xcel Energy has reported 2023 third quarter GAAP earnings of $656 million, or $1.19 per share, compared with $649 million, or $1.18 per share in the same period in 2022 and ongoing earnings of $682 million, or $1.23 per share, compared with $649 million, or $1.18 per share in the same period in 2022.
Third quarter ongoing earnings results reflect the impact of increased recovery of infrastructure investments, higher sales and demand, lower operating and maintenance (O&M) expenses, partially offset by increased interest charges and depreciation.
“Xcel Energy delivered solid performance during the third quarter,” said Bob Frenzel, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy. “As a result, we are narrowing our 2023 ongoing earnings guidance to $3.32 to $3.37 per share and initiating 2024 guidance of $3.50 to $3.60 per share.”
“We made significant progress on our industry-leading clean energy transition plans. In September, we filed a proposed 
plan for the largest clean energy transition effort in Colorado history. The plan includes approximately 6,500 MW of renewable energy and battery storage, and approximately 600 MW of natural gas resources to ensure reliability. With
the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act, the resources in the plan would have an annual rate impact of approximately 2.3 percent.”

MGE ENERGY REPORTS THIRDQUARTER 2023 EARNINGS
MGE Energy has reported financial results for the third quarter of 2023. MGE Energy's GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) earnings for the third quarter of 2023 were $37.9 million, or $1.05 per share, compared to $33.7 million, or $0.93 per share, for the same period in the prior year.
The company’s third-quarter results were primarily driven by an increase in investments included in rate base. Also, warmer-than-normal weather led to an increase in electric residential sales of approximately 5% compared to the third quarter of 2022.
MGE continues to invest in new, cost-effective renewable generation, which is helping to fuel the company's asset growth. An increase in electric investments included in rate base contributed to increased electric earnings for the third quarter of 2023. The timing of depreciation expense also contributed to higher electric earnings in the third quarter of 2023. Depreciation costs are expected to increase after significant capital projects are completed, including the second phase of Badger Hollow and Paris solar projects.
In the third quarter of 2023, earnings from investment in ATC increased $0.9 million, driven by an estimated possible loss recorded in 2022 from filed complaints regarding MISO transmission owners' authorized return on equity. Gas net income in the third quarter of 2023 remained relatively flat compared to the third quarter of 2022.

Happy Holidays!

THE WUI BOARD OF DIRECTORS WOULD LIKE TO SEND A HEARTFELT
Thank you, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to all our members!

Wisconsin Utility Investors (WUI) has a strong membership base that powers an effective grass-roots response. As a member, you have made your voice heard
and votes counted through events such as the WUI Legislative Day and Legislative Action Alert responses.


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XCEL ENERGY ELECTS TIMOTHY WELSH TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS

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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WE ENERGIES 2024 RATE PROPOSAL BEING CONSIDERED

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin is considering a limited rate filing for We Energies customers. The PSCW has been conducting a thorough review of the proposal and taking public input. They are expected to make a decision before the end of 2023. The limited rate filing is driven by new investments in electric and natural gas infrastructure that have already been approved by the PSCW and that go into service in 2023 and 2024.

The filing includes significant investments in renewable energy and savings from the planned retirement of coal-fueled units at the Oak Creek Power Plant. The new investments are part of a plan that is expected to save customers $2 billion over 20 years compared to the status quo.

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ALLIANT TO CREATE UNIQUE ENERGY STORAGE FACILITY

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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WE ENERGIES PLANS $100M PROJECT TO SUPPORT NEW MICROSOFT DATA CENTER

We Energies plans to spend $100 million on a distribution project to serve Microsoft’s proposed data center on land initially meant for Foxconn in the village of Mount Pleasant.

But, the project may not need approval by state regulators, due to exemptions created for Foxconn’s failed plans to create 13,000 jobs and produce large flat-screens in southeast Wisconsin. Now, critics are calling on state lawmakers to close those loopholes.  

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XCEL ENERGY TO EXPAND ONE OF THE NATION'S BIGGEST SOLAR PROJECTS

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has approved Xcel Energy’s expansion of the Sherco Solar project, which will soon become one of the biggest solar projects in the country. The project is a key element of Xcel Energy’s clean energy transition and will help the company triple the amount of solar on its Upper Midwest system by 2028.  The unanimous vote paves the way for 710 megawatts of solar generation near the existing Sherco coal plant in Becker, Minnesota, by adding a 250-megawatt array to the 460 megawatts currently under construction. All phases of the project are expected to be complete by the end of 2025, replacing the capacity of the Sherco plant’s first coal unit that is scheduled to retire later this year.

The solar portfolio approved by the Commission also includes a plan to purchase power from the 100-megawatt Apple River solar project in northwestern Wisconsin, which will be one of the largest solar projects in Wisconsin.

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NEW SMART METERS SPEED GRID TRANSFORMATION

Xcel Energy’s Wisconsin customers will soon see the benefits of an improved, high-tech electric grid as the company begins installing smart electric meters at their homes and businesses. Installation work begins today in the company’s southern communities as part of a multiyear project to bring customers cleaner, safer and more reliable energy through advanced grid technology.

"We’re excited to take this next step in building a smarter, more resilient and efficient energy grid and making it easier than ever for customers to understand and manage their energy use,” According to  Karl Hoesly, President, Xcel Energy-Wisconsin. “Smart meters are the starting point for this advanced grid, boosting reliability and providing new tools and technology to help customers lower costs.”

The first meters were installed in the communities of Alma Center, Coon Valley, Ettrick, Hixton, Melrose, Rockland and Spartaas the company sets out to install more than 260,000 of the new devices in Xcel Energy’s Wisconsin service area this year and through 2025.

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WEC ENERGY GROUP DECLARES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND

MILWAUKEEOct. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The board of directors of WEC Energy Group (NYSE: WEC) today declared a quarterly cash dividend of 78 cents per share on the company's common stock.

The dividend is payable Dec. 1, 2023, to stockholders of record on Nov. 14, 2023. This marks the 325th consecutive quarter — dating back to 1942 — that the company will have paid a dividend to its stockholders.

WEC ENERGY GROUP REPORTS 3RD QUARTER RESULTS

On October 31, 2023, WEC Energy Group (NYSE: WEC)  reported net income of $316.0 million, or $1.00 per share, for the third quarter of 2023 — up from $302.0 million, or 96 cents per share, in last year's third quarter.

For the first nine months of 2023, the company recorded net income of $1.11 billion, or $3.52 per share — down from $1.16 billion, or $3.65 per share, in the corresponding period a year ago.

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LEGISLATION MAINTAINS WISCONSIN CONTROL OVER TRANSMISSION SYSTEM

Recently introduced legislation (SB 481/AB 470) will allow Wisconsin utilities to maintain control over construction and operation of transmission infrastructure in this state. Without these bills, out of state investors will be allowed build and operate any new transmission lines which will not only harm investors but also consumers because a balkanized system will inevitably be more costly to build an operate.

Specifically, the bills provide a right of first refusal to incumbent transmission line owner/operators for any new transmission line projects. This will protect the current system which is owned and operated primarily by Xcel Energy and the American Transmission Company which, in turn, is owned by Alliant Energy, Madison Gas and Electric, WEC Energy Group and several Wisconsin municipal utilities.

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WE ENERGIES STRENGTHENS RELIABILITY WITH STATE-OF-THE-ART GENERATION FACILITY NEAR WAUSAU

An innovative new power facility is providing another important source of affordable, reliable energy for homes and businesses across Wisconsin. We Energies has completed a new, 128-megawatt (MW) power generation station at the Weston Power Plant near Wausau, Wisconsin. The units at the natural gas-fueled facility have begun full operations, sending energy to the electric grid. 

“We focus every day on making sure our customers have the energy they depend on,” according to Scott Lauber, President and CEO — We Energies. “As we build more renewable energy power plants, these modern and low-carbon generation units will ensure the lights stay on when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing.”

RECORD ATTENDANCE AT WISCONSIN UTILITY INVESTORS 43RD ANNUAL MEETING AT EAST TROY

  

Nearly 150 Wisconsin Utility Investor Members attended this year’s Annual Meeting held in East Troy, Wisconsin, bringing our attendance nearly back to pre-Covid numbers. Members took advantage of the opportunity to talk to shareholder relations representatives from Alliant Energy, MGE Energy, and WEC Energies, learning about current investment dividends and considering future stock options.

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MGE TARGETING NET-ZERO METHANE EMISSIONS FROM NATURAL GAS DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM

Building upon MGE's long-standing commitment to providing affordable, sustainable energy, Madison Gas and Electric has set a goal to achieve net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas distribution system by 2035. The goal builds on the company’s existing sustainability and clean energy goals.
MGE completed an in-depth analysis and inventory of all its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with its electric generation and distribution, purchase and distribution of natural gas, and other sources. Methane, which is a primary component of natural gas, is more than 25 times as potent as carbon dioxide. It can be emitted during the production, transmission and distribution of natural gas.

SOLAR ENERGY BATTERY PROJECTS GET GREEN LIGHT

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has approved two Alliant Energy battery energy storage projects totaling 175 megawatts (MW). The approval clears the way for construction to begin on the 100-MW Grant County Battery Project and 75-MW Wood County Battery Project. They will be located alongside the company’s Grant County and Wood County solar sites. The integration of these battery systems with Alliant Energy’s utility-scale solar sites increases customer access to safe, reliable energy even when the sun isn’t out.

"We appreciate the PSCW’s approval of these cutting-edge battery energy storage systems that will enhance grid reliability and flexibility for our customers,” according to David de Leon, President of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin energy company. “These projects are another step toward achieving our clean energy goals while enabling a more resilient and cost-effective energy future. We are excited to break ground on these innovative battery projects and look forward to the benefits and enhanced value these systems will deliver to our customers.” 

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WISCONSIN MANUFACTURERS AND COMMERCE SUPPORTS SUPERIOR ENERGY CENTER

A key federal agency is currently accepting public comments related to the Nemadji Trail Energy Center (NTEC). NTEC will be a state-of-the-art natural gas plant in Superior, Wisconsin, with the ability to deliver up to 625 MW of flexible energy to the electric grid. The proposed plant will help ensure the delivery of safe, reliable and affordable energy to many Wisconsin businesses.

In a statement the  Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce association said, 'Wisconsin manufacturers and other businesses cannot rely solely on intermittent wind and solar resources that are only available when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining. In order to grow jobs, Wisconsin’s business community needs access to affordable and reliable energy."

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XCEL ENERGY ELECTS TIMOTHY WELSH TO BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Xcel Energy has announced that Timothy Welsh has been elected to the company’s Board of Directors, 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.