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ALLIANT ENERGY'S NEW PORTAGE BATTERY UNIT CAPABLE OF POWERING 5,000 HOMES

Alliant Energy is building a battery storage unit in Portage that will be able to supply power in short stretches to 5,000 homes. Battery storage units store energy from the sun as alternating current power for later use. The new 5-megawatt energy storage system in Portage will double Alliant Energy’s Midwest battery storage capacity. Alliant, like other utilities, has been piloting advances in battery storage technology. The Portage unit will be Alliant’s fourth in the state and eighth in the Midwest.

“Battery storage will ensure we continue to deliver safe, clean and reliable energy to our customers as we grow our renewable energy portfolio,” said David de Leon, President of Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin energy company. 

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WISCONSIN'S LARGEST SOLAR FARM WILL BE BUILT IN DANE COUNTY

Wisconsin’s largest solar farm to date has been approved by state regulators, to be constructed later this year on nearly 5,000 acres of farm land in Dane County. The Koshkonong Solar Energy Center will produce enough energy to power about 80,000 homes once it's completed at the end of 2024.

The project is being developed by Invenergy, a Chicago-based developer and will later be sold to Wisconsin Electric Power Company, Wisconsin Public Service Corp. and Madison Gas and Electric Company for $649 million. The solar energy center will include 300 megawatts of solar and a 165 megawatt battery energy storage system on approximately 7 square miles of agricultural land in the towns of Christiana and Deerfield. About 3.75 square miles will be developed for the project.

XCEL ENERGY FOUNDATION LAUNCHES ENERGIZING THE FUTURE GRANT

As the Xcel Energy Foundation opens applications for its 2022 grant program, it’s announcing the launch of Energizing the Future. This new giving plan better aligns Xcel Energy’s business priorities to reflect diversity, equity and inclusion commitments, while creating a stronger community. The Foundation has also increased annual grant funding in 2022 to $4.4 million, from $3.8 million in 2021, for the company’s eight state service area, strengthening the company’s overall community impact.

“We’re only as strong as the communities we serve, and we see these changes as an opportunity to bring even greater value while also recognizing and reinforcing the importance of our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Mark Stoering, president of Xcel Energy, Wisconsin and Michigan. Energizing the Future will consist of three focus areas including STEM career pathways, environmental sustainability and community vitality.

MGE’S NEWEST SOLAR ARRAY SERVES THE CITY OF MADISON AND SCHOOL DISTRICT

Madison Gas and Electric’s latest solar array, the 8-megawatt (MW) Hermsdorf Solar Fields, is fully operational and delivering locally generated, sustainable energy to MGE's distribution grid. The project in southeast Madison provides solar energy to the City of Madison and to the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) under MGE's innovative Renewable Energy Rider (RER).

"We are excited to have this solar array in service, providing carbon-free, cost-effective electricity as we continue to grow our use of renewable energy and move toward net-zero carbon electricity by 2050," said Jeff Keebler, MGE Chairman, President and CEO. "Thank you to the City of Madison and MMSD for their partnership on this project, which provides another source of locally generated clean energy and is another step toward our shared sustainability goals."

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ALLIANT ENERGY & UW–MADISON COLLABORATE

Alliant Energy and the University of Wisconsin–Madison will partner on a solar and agricultural research project to be established on university owned land just west of Lake Kegonsa.

The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System has approved a request from UW–Madison to enter into a lease agreement with Alliant Energy and proceed with the development of the solar and agricultural research project at their Kegonsa Research Campus.

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PEOPLE | May 2022

AMERICAN TRANSMISSION COMPANY ANNOUNCES PROMOTION
American Transmission Co. has named Greg Levesque Vice President of External Affairs and Communications.

In this newly created position, Levesque will oversee policy, government affairs, real estate, environmental, customer relations, interconnection services, local relations and corporate communications.

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Transmission Line Delay Will Jeopardize the Delivery of Clean Energy

Utilities seeking to build a transmission line connecting Iowa and Wisconsin are appealing a court decision blocking the Mississippi River crossing and say construction delays could leave the power grid more vulnerable to blackouts, limit clean energy production and lead to higher electricity prices.

Earlier this year, federal Judge William Conley sided with four conservation groups that sued to stop the $492 million Cardinal-Hickory Creek line, finding the environmental review was inadequate and the project is incompatible with the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.

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MGE, WEC Energy to Purchase Additional Solar, Battery Storage

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 Paris Solar-Battery Park. MGE will own 20 MW of solar energy and 11 MW of battery storage from the 200 MW solar and 110 MW battery storage facility in Kenosha County, Wisconsin.

“We are working every day toward deep carbon reductions and net-zero carbon electricity by 2050,”according to Jeff Keebler, MGE’s Chairman, President and CEO. “The Paris Solar-Battery Park continues the progress we’ve already made increasing renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions and advancing new technologies to benefit all our customers. MGE’s first addition of utility-scale battery storage is a new and important technology to help us reach our sustainable energy goals.”

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Xcel Energy named one of The World’s Most Ethical Companies

For the third year in a row, Xcel Energy has been named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® by Ethisphere, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices. Xcel Energy is one of only nine honorees in the Energy & Utilities category, and one of only five of those companies in the United States recognized this year. In 2022, 136 honorees were recognized spanning 22 countries and 45 industries.

Forbes names Alliant Energy to America’s Best

For the fourth year in a row, Alliant Energy has been named to Forbes list of America’s Best Midsize Employers. Presented by Forbes and Statista Inc., the list spans twenty-five industry sectors and recognizes 500 large and 500 midsize employers in the United States. 


“This recognizes the great people at Alliant Energy and the way they bring our purpose to life,” said Diane Cooke, Vice President of Human Resources at Alliant Energy. “Guided by a shared purpose of supporting customers and building stronger communities, we work together to create a safe workplace where everyone feels like they belong and can use their unique backgrounds, talents and perspectives to their fullest potential.”

American Transmission Co. Announces Promotion

American Transmission Company has named Greg Levesque vice president of external affairs and communications.

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Alliant Energy Addresses Solar Energy Myths: EMF Radiation and Sound

When it comes to solar energy, there is a lot of information out there—but not all of it is accurate. Alliant Energy doesn’t want people misinformed, so it has prepared information aimed at dispelling some of the myths behind solar power.

Myth: Solar panels generate harmful electromagnetic fields.

Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiation. They’re usually associated with the use of electrical power and lighting. EMFs come in two forms: non-ionizing and ionizing. Non-ionizing EMFs are low-level forms of radiation generally perceived as harmless to humans. According to the CDC, effects from non-ionizing radiation are not common. In fact, people come in contact with non-ionizing EMFs through radio and TV waves, cell phones, and microwaves every day without negative health impact.

Similarly, solar panels generate low levels of non-ionizing radiation, but even then, it’s unlikely to reach the general public. People outside of the fenced perimeter of a solar facility are not exposed to a significant amount of EMFs. Therefore, communities around solar farms are not at risk for adverse health issues from EMFs.

What about pacemakers and defibrillators?

Those who rely on medical devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators may still have questions about a solar project’s potential effect on their device. However, research shows there is no reason for concern—EMF levels outside a solar facility’s fence is less than 1/1000 of the level at which manufacturers test these medical devices for EMF interference.

Myth: Solar farms are loud.

Solar projects have gotten an undeserved bad rap for being noisy. In reality, solar farms make very quiet neighbors, especially at night. There are only a few parts of a solar project that generate any audible sound. Tracking solar panels that follow the position of the sun throughout the day do create some sound when they’re moving, but this sound is subtle and not continuous. Inverters and transformers that move electric power to the grid also make sound. However, in typical utility-scale solar farm designs, this equipment is located central to the solar panels that feed them energy. This puts them as far away from the farm’s security fence as possible and reduces the sound that reaches beyond the project’s perimeter. The moving components of a solar farm also operate only during daylight hours when the sun is shining and power is produced. When the sun goes down, there is no audible noise from the solar equipment.

Our First Regional Meeting of 2022 is scheduled and ready for registrations!

 

Our First Regional Meeting of 2022 is scheduled and ready for registrations!   

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WEC ENERGY GROUP ANNOUNCES HYDROGEN POWER PILOT PROGRAM

WEC Energy Group has announced that it is leading a pilot project to test hydrogen as a fuel source for power generation. The company will test co-firing hydrogen with natural gas at one of its power generation plants in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. This is one of the first hydrogen power pilot programs of its kind in the United States.

WEC Energy Group has set some of the most aggressive environmental goals in the energy industry, including net-zero carbon emissions from electric generation by 2050 and net-zero methane emissions from natural gas distribution by the end of 2030. This pilot continues that industry leadership and could help create another viable option for decarbonizing the economy. 

"We're pleased to take a leading role in testing hydrogen in our modern natural gas fueled generation units," according to Gale Klappa, Executive Chairman. "As we bring more renewable energy online, we must ensure that we can keep the lights on when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. The potential of adding hydrogen as a clean generating fuel to our fleet of dispatchable plants is an important step as we bridge to a bright, sustainable future." 

During the pilot project, hydrogen and natural gas will be mixed up to a 25/75 percent blend to power one of the generating units that serves customers of Upper Michigan Energy Resources, a WEC Energy Group subsidiary. The units use a technology known as RICE — reciprocating internal combustion engines. The engines were manufactured by technology company Wärtsilä and began service in 2019.  

WEC Energy Group is partnering with the Electric Power Research Institute the world's preeminent independent, non-profit energy research and development organization, driving innovation to ensure the public has clean, safe, reliable, affordable, and equitable access to electricity across the globe.

ATC BACKS LEGISLATION ON RIGHTS TO TRANSMISSION EXPANSION

The American Transmission Company is urging Wisconsin lawmakers to pass legislation (Senate Bill 838 and Assembly Bill 892) that would provide a right of first refusal for incumbent transmission line owners when building new lines and maintain important Wisconsin based regulatory oversight over the approval process.

Without this legislation, new transmission line projects could be subject to a new, complex, and often contentious federal approval process that could lead to significant delays and loss of Wisconsin based regulatory authority. This legislation will ensure that we continue to have a Wisconsin focused approach to transmission line planning and approval.

The Wisconsin bill enjoys bipartisan support in the legislature including both Republicans and Democrats who sit on legislative committees that oversee utilities. It has attracted an unusual collection of opponents including environmental groups and Americans for Prosperity.

Most midwestern states have adopted similar legislation including Minnesota, Iowa and Michigan. WUI is supporting Senate Bill 838 and Assembly Bill 892 because any expansion of Wisconsin’s transmission infrastructure needs to continue to be based on Wisconsin’s needs and circumstances and be subject to PSC approval and oversight.

ALLIANT ENERGY NAMED ONE OF AMERICA’S BEST MIDSIZE EMPLOYERS

For the fourth year in a row, Alliant Energy was named to Forbes list of America’s Best Midsize Employers. Presented by Forbes and Statista Inc., the list spans 25 industry sectors and recognizes 500 large and 500 midsize employers in the United States.

“This recognizes the great people at Alliant Energy and the way they bring our purpose to life,” said Diane Cooke, Vice President of Human Resources at Alliant Energy. “Guided by a shared purpose of supporting customers and building stronger communities, we work together to create a safe workplace where everyone feels like they belong and can use their unique backgrounds, talents and perspectives to their fullest potential.”

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NEW WPS RENEWABLE ENERGY FACILITY ADDED

WPS has announced it has added another renewable energy facility near Lake Julia in Rhinelander. The facility, which is officially named Hodag Solar Park, is the first large-scale solar park in the Northwoods region to date. Featuring 21,000 solar panels that can capture solar energy on both sides. The Hodag Solar Park is reportedly capable of generating 7.5 megawatts, which is equal to powering more than 2,000 homes.

“This project is another example of our commitment to delivering affordable, reliable, and clean energy to our customers,” according to Scott Lauber, WPS President. “We’re proud to add another source of renewable energy to power homes and businesses in north-central Wisconsin.”

MGE INCREASES ENERGY 2030 CARBON REDUCTION GOAL TO EIGHTY PERCENT

Consistent with its commitment to sustainable energy and to global climate science, Madison Gas and Electric is committing to reducing carbon at least eighty percent by 2030 as it works toward achieving net-zero carbon electricity by 2050. Under its Energy 2030 framework, announced in 2015, the company set a goal of forty percent carbon reduction by 2030, one of the first such goals set by a utility and in alignment with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Since then, the company has said it fully expects to achieve carbon reductions of at least sixty-five percent by 2030. In 2019, MGE established its goal of net-zero carbon electricity by mid-century, consistent with climate science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and analysis of the company’s goal by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

PEOPLE: XCEL ENERGY ANNOUNCES NEW CHIEF HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICER

Bob Frenzel, Xcel Energy’s Chairman, President and CEO, has announced that Patricia Correa joined the company on February 1, 2022 as the new chief human resources officer (CHRO). Correa replaces Darla Figoli, the company’s former Executive Vice President and CHRO whose last day was March 1.

EARNINGS | DIVIDENDS

WEC ENERGY GROUP RAISES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND BY 7.4 PERCENT
The Board of Directors of WEC Energy Group declared a quarterly cash dividend of 72.75 cents per share on the company's common stock, an increase of 7.4 percent over the current quarterly dividend of 67.75 cents per share. This raises the annual dividend rate to $2.91 per share. The higher dividend was paid on March 1, 2022, to stockholders of record on February 14, 2022. This marks the 318th consecutive quarter, dating back to 1942, that the company will have paid a dividend to its stockholders.

WEC ENERGY GROUP POSTS 2021 RESULTS
WEC Energy Group has reported net income of $1.3 billion, or $4.11 per share, for 2021. This compares to earnings of $1.2 billion, or $3.79 per share, for 2020 — a year-over-year increase of 8.4 percent. For the fourth quarter of 2021, WEC Energy Group recorded net income of $224.2 million, or 71 cents per share. This compares to earnings of $239 million, or 76 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 2020. Consolidated revenues totaled $8.3 billion for 2021, up $1.1 billion compared to 2020 revenues.

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