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ALLIANT ENERGY NAMED A TOP UTILITY IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Site Selector Magazine announced for the fifth consecutive year that 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.

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FROM THE CAPITOL

WISCONSIN SENATE OVERRIDES THREE OF GOVERNOR’S VETOES
Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate have voted three times to override vetoes from Gov. Tony Evers, two of them partial vetoes that Evers made to the 2023-25 state budget. 
The override votes then go to the state Assembly, where the GOP is just two seats shy of the two-thirds majority needed to concur with the Senate and override. Any Assembly action is likely to have happened after press time for this Voice issue. 
The Senate voted along party lines 22-11 to override. Evers’ veto in the budget that authorized public school districts to raise their revenue limits by $325 annually for the next 400 years.  
Evers’ vetoed budget language that cut the income tax rate for households with incomes from $25,000 to $370,000. He had also vetoed SB-49, a bill to protect liquified gas retailers from government restrictions on their products and also to block state agencies and local governments from restricting utilities or discriminating against them based on their “type or source of energy.”

EVERS VETOES BILLS THAT WOULD HAVE PREVENTED LOCAL BANS ON ENERGY USE
Governor Tony Evers has vetoed several bills that would have prevented Wisconsin communities from barring the use of vehicles or appliances powered by fossil fuels. Two bills sought to prevent Wisconsin’s state and local governments from passing mandates that aim to shift away from vehicles or stoves that run on gas in favor of those powered by electricity.

Another proposal sought to prevent communities from requiring specific sources of energy.  Republican lawmakers and supporters have said the proposals aimed to protect consumer choice. In his veto message, Evers said signing the bills would diminish the state’s ability to combat climate change by shifting to new technology.

MINNESOTA PUC PAVES THE WAY FOR CONTINUED OPERATIONS AT XCEL ENERGY’S MONTICELLO NUCLEAR PLANT

Xcel Energy has received the necessary approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to extend operations of the Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant through 2040, a major step toward continuing to provide reliable, carbon-free energy for more than 500,000 customers across the Upper Midwest while meeting the state’s carbon reduction goals.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved Xcel Energy’s application to allow increased storage of spent nuclear fuel at the site, opening the door for at least ten more years of operation. 
“We thank the Commission, Minnesota Department of Commerce and other stakeholders for their careful review and recognition of the importance of the Monticello nuclear plant to our shared clean energy goals,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy – Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. “Nuclear power is crucial to achieving those goals because of its unique combination of reliability, affordability, and zero emissions. 

XCEL ENERGY TO NEARLY TRIPLE SOLAR ON UPPER MIDWEST SYSTEM BY 2028

Xcel Energy is proposing to add an additional 250-megawatt solar project near the existing Sherco plant site in Becker, Minnesota, which will soon be home to the Upper Midwest’s largest solar development and represents an important piece of the company’s clean energy future.

Xcel Energy has asked the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to add a third solar array adjacent to the 460-megawatt Sherco Solar project already under construction. The three solar projects are expected to be complete by the end of 2025 and will replace the capacity of the Sherco plant’s first coal unit that is scheduled to retire later this year. As part of its expansion of solar energy it delivers to customers, Xcel Energy is also proposing to purchase power from the 100-megawatt Apple River solar project being developed in northwest Wisconsin.

WEC ENERGY GROUP'S CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY REPORT HIGHLIGHTS PROGRESS

WEC Energy Group has released its 2022 Corporate Responsibility Report. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the company's environmental, social and governance performance. The report outlines the progress made by WEC Energy Group and its family of companies on major projects and the company's commitment to the environment and the economies of the areas it serves.

The report also examines the company's climate strategy and the research and development of emerging technologies such as hydrogen power and long-duration battery storage.

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ALLIANT ENERGY: Q2 EARNINGS SNAPSHOT

Alliant Energy has reported earnings of $160 million in its second quarter. On a per-share basis, the company said it had profit of 64 cents. The electric and gas utility parent company posted revenue of $912 million in the period.

Alliant Energy expects full-year earnings to be $2.82 to $2.96 per share.

MGE: QUARTER 2 EARNINGS REPORTED

MGE Energy has reported net income of $28.7 million in its second quarter. On a per-share basis, the company said it had net income of 79 cents. The public utility holding company posted revenue of $148 million in the period.

XCEL ENERGY SECOND QUARTER 2023 EARNINGS REPORTED

Xcel Energy has reported 2023 second quarter GAAP and ongoing earnings of $288 million, or $0.52 per share, compared with $328 million, or $0.60 per share, in the same period in 2022.

Earnings reflect the impact of unfavorable weather, higher operating and maintenance (O&M) expenses and interest charges, without expected increases in regulatory recovery to offset these drivers including the outcome of the Minnesota Electric Rate Case.

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WEC ENERGY GROUP REPORTS SECOND-QUARTER RESULTS

WEC Energy Group has reported net income of $289.7 million, or 92 cents per share, for the second quarter of 2023 — up from $287.5 million, or 91 cents per share, in last year's second quarter. For the first six months of 2023, the company recorded net income of $797.2 million, or $2.52 per share — down from $853.4 million, or $2.70 per share, in the corresponding period a year ago. Consolidated revenues totaled $4.7 billion for the first six months of 2023, down $317.9 million from revenues in the first half of 2022.

"After a down first quarter marked by one of the warmest winters on record, we delivered solid results in the second quarter. And we're firmly on track for a strong 2023," said Gale Klappa, executive chairman. "We're focused on the fundamentals of our business — financial discipline, operating efficiency and customer satisfaction."

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XCEL ENERGY ANNOUNCES CLEAN HEAT PLAN TO REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS IN THE NATURAL GAS SYSTEM

Xcel Energy has announced its Clean Heat Plan, the company’s first significant proposal to strategically reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the natural gas system. 

The Clean Heat Plan, one of the first of its kind, provides a pathway to reduce emissions consistent with state goals and further implements Xcel Energy’s net-zero emissions goal for its natural gas business. The Plan fast-tracks clean, resilient, innovative solutions while ensuring our customers receive the reliable, affordable energy they need to power their lives. Designed to accommodate customers’ unique needs, the Plan offers a portfolio of solutions customers can choose that work for them, leading to greater emission reductions at a lower cost.

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NEW ONLINE DATA TOOL GIVES USERS INSIGHT INTO WISCONSIN'S ENERGY MIX

The Public Service Commission has a new online tool that makes it easier to determine the state’s energy mix. The "Wisconsin Energy Statistics" portal provides a snapshot of energy use in Wisconsin, as well as that energy’s economic and environmental impacts. 

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has published energy data in a physical book since 1976. In a statement, PSC Chair Rebecca Cameron Valcq said the new online resource aims to make that information more accessible.

HO-CHUNK GAMING WISCONSIN DELLS ADDS ELECTRIC CHARGERS

Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells has hosted a ribbon cutting for one of Wisconsin’s largest and fastest public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations placed at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells. Casino officials, Ho-Chunk Nation President, Marlon White-Eagle, and officials from Alliant Energy, Inertial Electric, and the Baraboo Area Chamber of Commerce were present for the event.
With collaborations from Alliant Energy and Inertial Electric, two ABB Terra 184 fast charging stations with 180 kilowatt DCFC dual-port charging stations offer both a traditional charging option with pull-in parking as well as a pull-through station which allows easy charging for larger vehicles pulling trailers. Both charging stations are ADA compliant designed and available around the clock in the parking lot just 2 miles south of interstate 90/94, on exit 92.
“We are extremely excited about offering these EV stations for guests to the Wisconsin Dells and wuiinc.org Baraboo areas,” said Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells Executive Manager, Landon Owen.

XCEL ENERGY SURPASSES FIFTY PERCENT CARBON-FREE ELECTRICITY

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.

REPORT: GRID CAN WITHSTAND NORMAL SUMMER, BUT EXTREME HEAT COULD CAUSE SHORTAGES

The Midwest electric grid — which includes Wisconsin — should have enough resources to meet normal summer demands this year, but it could face shortages during peak demand levels from extreme heat events.
That's according to the North American Electric Reliability Corp., or NERC, a utility watchdog that releases a summer reliability report each year. Its 2023 report found that two-thirds of North America is at risk of energy shortfalls this summer during periods of high demand.
That includes the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO, which manages the grid across Wisconsin and 14 other states. NERC says North America’s elevated risk outlook is driven by a combination of coal plant retirements, a possible spike in energy use and reduced reliability due to extreme heat. "Increased, rapid deployment of wind, solar and batteries have made a positive  impact," said Mark Olson, NERC’s manager of Reliability Assessments, in a statement.

"However, generator retirements continue to increase the risks associated with extreme summer temperatures, which factors into potential supply shortages in the western two thirds of North America if summer temperatures spike.”

PURCHASE OF DARIEN SOLAR ENERGY CENTER APPROVED

Madison Gas and Electric in partnership with We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service subsidiaries of WEC Energy Group, has received approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to purchase solar energy and battery storage from the Darien Solar Energy Center. MGE will own 25 megawatts (MW) of solar energy and 7.5 MW of battery storage from the 250-MW solar and 75-MW battery storage facility in Rock and Walworth counties in southern Wisconsin.
"The Darien Solar Energy Center is another important step in our ongoing transition to cleaner energy sources, reducing carbon at least 80 percent by the end of this decade and achieving net-zero carbon electricity by 2050," according to Jeff Keebler, Chairman, President and CEO. "MGE's investments in cost-effective, clean energy and battery storage technology help ensure that all our customers will experience the economic and environmental benefits of our clean energy transition."

XCEL ENERGY'S MULTI-DAY BATTERY STORAGE APPROVED

Xcel Energy has received approval from Minnesota regulators to construct a multi-day energy storage system that will help maximize the company’s use of renewable energy and maintain grid reliability through extreme temperatures and weather.
The demonstration-scale, 10 megawatt/1,000 megawatt hour iron-air battery system, developed by Massachusetts based
Form Energy, will be installed on 5 acres of land near the Sherburne County Generating Station in Becker, Minnesota. The project will be located near one of the largest solar developments in the U.S., Sherco Solar, which is now in development and will add up to 710 megawatts of renewable energy to the grid.
Construction of the battery system will start in the second quarter of 2024, with the battery expected to come online as early as 2025. The project is expected to support 15 to 20 construction jobs and generate $9 million in local tax revenue. “Multi-day battery storage has the potential to help us better harness the renewable energy we generate while ensuring the grid remains reliable for our customers,” said Bria Shea, regional vice president, regulatory policy for Xcel Energy– Minnesota. “We look forward to bringing this system online at our Sherco site and learning more about the role it can play in our larger effort to reach 100% carbon-free electricity.” The project is one of two battery storage projects to be installed at the sites of retiring Xcel Energy coal plants, with the other location at the Comanche Generating Station in Pueblo, Colorado. The batteries will allow Xcel Energy to store renewable energy such as solar and wind when it is being produced and then later distribute the energy during periods of lower production.

XCEL ENERGY SURPASSES CARBONFREE ELECTRICITY GOAL

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.

WEC ENERGY GROUP TO REPLACE REFERENCE RATE FOR JR SUBORDINATED NOTES

WEC Energy Group has announced that CME Term SOFR, as administered by the CME Group Benchmark Administration, will be the replacement reference rate for WEC Energy Group's 2007 Series A Junior Subordinated Notes due 2067 (CUSIP:976657AH9) (the "Notes"), replacing U.S. dollar LIBOR as the reference rate.
In accordance with the Adjustable Interest Rate (LIBOR) Act (the "LIBOR Act") and the regulation issued by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on Dec. 16, 2022, implementing the LIBOR Act (the "LIBOR Rule"), the applicable tenor of three month CME Term SOFR will be the reference rate for calculations of the amount of interest payable with respect to interest periods with reference rate determination dates occurring after June 30, 2023, and specifically August 15, 2023, in the case of the Notes.
In the case of the Notes, the replacement rate, and therefore calculation of the amount of interest payable on the above security for interest periods with reference rate determination dates that occur after June 30, 2023, will also include the applicable tenor spread adjustment of 0.26161 percent per annum, as specified in the LIBOR Act.

WAUKESHA COUNTY JUDGE ORDERS AUCTION OF SHUTDOWN SOLAR COMPANY ASSETS

A Waukesha County judge has approved the auction of all of Sun Badger Solar's assets. Sun Badger’s problems first came to light in February after dozens of customers signed contracts and paid thousands for solar panels they never received.

Judge Brad Schimel authorized an auction of what's left of Sun Badger's assets. According to Schimel and the receiver on this case, attorney John Wirth, there isn't much left. The I-Team learned all of the company's assets were recently moved to its Waukesha office after Wirth said the company's Minnesota landlord evicted them at that location and got rid of inventory.

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XCEL AWARDS $10,000 TO MINNEAPOLIS NONPROFIT MAD DADS

Xcel Energy has announced a $10,000 grant to MAD DADS, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that offers safe, positive youth programming and job creation, as part of the Xcel Energy Foundation’s 2023 Employee Choice Grant awards. MAD DADS received the most votes from Xcel Energy employees in Minnesota. Each year, employees nominate nonprofits for the award.

A panel of employees select finalists that align with the company’s values and Foundation’s focus areas. Employees statewide then vote for a single finalist.