Can Utility Companies Become Carbon Free by 2050?

Both Madison Gas and Electric and Alliant Energy say they support Governor Evers’ executive order setting a carbon-free
electricity goal for 2050. Annemarie Newman with Alliant Energy says the company is encouraged by the order. Alliant had previously set a goal to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050. “The question now is, how can we do more sooner?”, she said. 

With the announcement happening so recently, those details are still being hammered out. Madison Gas and Electric already had a goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. They say they welcomed the executive order. “We share the vision of a cleaner energy future and look forward to working with the Governor and state regulators to advance strategies to achieve MGE’s goal of net-zero carbon electricity by 2050.”

PSC Authorizes $500 Million Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission Line

Wisconsin utility regulators granted final approval September 26th for a controversial power line while rebuffing conflict of interest charges from opponents of the nearly $500 million project. At a meeting interrupted by protesters, the Public Service
Commission voted unanimously to authorize construction of the Cardinal-Hickory Creek line between Dubuque and Middleton in a written order summarizing points the three commissioners agreed to during a hearing in August.

Alliant Energy Provides Second Quarter 2019 Results

Alliant Energy has announced its earnings per share (EPS) for the three months ended June 30 as

                                                                                                    2019                                 2018
Utilities and Corporate Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.38. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$0.41
American Transmission Company (ATC) Holdings . . . . . . . . . . 0.03. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0.03
Non-utility and Parent. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (0.01). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .(0.01)
Alliant Energy Consolidated . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $0.40. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$0.43

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Xcel Energy has reported 2019 second quarter GAAP and ongoing earnings of $238 million, or $0.46 per share, compared with $265 million or $0.52 per share in the same period in 2018.

Earnings reflect higher electric and natural gas margins primarily due to non-fuel riders and regulatory rate outcomes, more than offset by 5 cents per share of unfavorable weather, increased depreciation, interest and operating and maintenance expenses.

“Despite the milder than normal weather in the second quarter, Xcel Energy’s year-to-date earnings are on track, and we are well-positioned to deliver earnings within our guidance range for the year,” said Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy.

“I am pleased that we have filed our Upper Midwest Resource Plan, which is another significant step forward in our industry leading drive to reduce carbon emissions while ensuring reliability and affordability,” said Fowke. “This plan achieves an 80% reduction in carbon emissions in the region by 2030, through the early retirement of the remaining coal units in the Upper Midwest, by substantially growing the amount of renewables on our system and adding new firm peaking resources to ensure continued reliability. This plan is a key stepping stone toward the company achieving its vision to provide customers 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.”


Alliant Energy has released its Corporate Sustainability Report. The report outlines Alliant Energy’s continuing efforts to meet the ever-changing needs of their customers in an affordable, safe, reliable and sustainable way.

“Our world is changing – and so are we,” said Alliant Energy Chairman, President and CEO John Larsen. “We’re listening 
to our customers, employees and key stakeholders and continuing to evolve how we do business. Every day, our work is focused on enhancing the environmental, social and economic conditions of the communities we have the honor to serve.”

Alliant Energy has been transitioning toward cleaner energy for more than a decade. Between 2016 and 2020, the company expects to spend approximately $2 billion on new company-owned wind generation. By the end of 2020, Alliant Energy will own 12 wind farms with the capacity to power nearly 600,000 homes. This equals the energy 
needed to power about 60% of the company’s residential customer base.

Alliant Energy is targeting a 40% reduction in carbon emissions below 2005 levels by 2030 and an 80% reduction by
2050. Last year, the company was among the first utilities to state that it plans to eliminate all existing coal from its
energy mix by 2050.


MGE Energy’s earnings for the second quarter of 2019 were $15.5 million, or 45 cents per share, compared to $18.3 million, or 53 cents per share, for the same period in the prior year.

During the second quarter of 2019, electric net income decreased due to lower residential customer usage resulting from cooler weather in June compared to the same period in the prior year. Gas net income decreased during the quarter primarily related to lower gas retail sales attributable to warmer weather in April 2019 compared to the same period in the prior year.


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.


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.


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.