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ALLIANT ENERGY BRINGS SIX NEW SOLAR PROJECTS ONLINE

Alliant Energy has announced the completion of six new large scale solar energy plants, adding 514 megawatts of solar energy to the electric grid, which will power around 135,000 homes annually.
"Completing these projects is a huge milestone and a pivotal moment in our journey toward a brighter energy future,” said David de Leon, Alliant Energy’s Wisconsin President. Alliant Energy is a Wisconsin-based electric and natural gas utility that serves the greater south- central region of the state as well as parts of the northeast.
The company has promoted its commitment to expanding renewable energy generation in Wisconsin and has been developing a total of 12 solar projects over the last few years. Alliant Energy has installed over 2 million solar panels in the state of Wisconsin so far. Utility scale solar projects often lease land from local landowners and farmers to site solar fields that cover hundreds of acres. The company is celebrating the completion of six solar sites — ranging from 50 to 150 megawatts — built in Green, Grant, Sheboygan, Rock, Dodge, and Waushara Counties. Nearly 1,000 workers were
employed during construction of the solar projects, according to a news release.

NEW BILL WOULD GIVE REGULATORS MORE AUTHORITY OVER CONSTRUCTION PLANS

A bill recently introduced in the state Legislature would give the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin greater control over utility plans for future construction projects.

Under the proposal, electric utilities and cooperatives would have to seek approval from state regulators for two-year construction plans for large-scale electric generating facilities, small generating sites and transmission lines. The Public Service Commission, or PSC, typically approves most utility construction projects individually, rather than looking at integrated resource and reliability plans biennially.

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ALLIANT ENERGY WAUTOMA SOLAR PROJECT NOW COMPLETE

Alliant Energy has announced the successful completion of its Wautoma Solar Project, a significant milestone in the company's transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy solutions. The 99-megawatt solar array, in the Waushara County town of Dakota and City of Wautoma, is a cost-effective generating facility that spans 624 acres and consists of nearly 240,000 solar panels. It can produce enough energy to power approximately 26,000 homes annually.

“The completion of this project is a major accomplishment that will deliver safe, reliable, cost-effective energy to our customers for decades,” said Ben Lipari, assistant vice president of resource development at Alliant Energy. “This project has been, and will continue to be, a collaborative effort with our participating landowners, local officials and the broader Waushara County community. A unique aspect of our project design included the repurposing of land at the Wautoma airport, which allowed us to diversify the project layout and maximize the value of underutilized land. Our development and construction of this project demonstrated our core values to ‘Act for tomorrow’ and ‘Make things better.’”

WE ENERGIES NEARS COMPLETION OF LIQUIFIED NATURAL GAS FACILITY

We Energies is about two months away from starting operations at its newest liquified natural gas facility in Ixonia. Construction on the $192 million facility started in 2021. The company expects to see $200 million in savings once the new LNG plant is online in February.

WEC ENERGY GROUP RAISES QUARTERLY DIVIDEND BY SEVEN PERCENT

The Board of Directors of WEC Energy Group has declared a quarterly cash dividend of 83.50 cents per share on the company's common stock, an increase of 7 percent over the current quarterly dividend of 78 cents per share. This raises the annual dividend rate to $3.34 per share. The higher dividend is payable March 1, 2024, to stockholders of record on February 14, 2024. This marks the 326th consecutive quarter, dating back to 1942, that the company will have paid a dividend to its stockholders.

XCEL ENERGY ACHIEVES KEY MILESTONE IN CLEAN ENERGY

Xcel Energy is marking a major step toward its vision of delivering 100 percent carbon-free electricity in Minnesota by 2040 as the company retired one of three coal units at the Sherburne County Generating Plant, or Sherco, over the weekend. For decades, Sherco has held the distinction as Minnesota’s largest power plant. Xcel Energy plans to retire Sherco’s remaining coal-fired units in 2026 and 2030, marking the company’s full exit from coal. The plant site itself is central to Xcel Energy’s clean energy transition with investments in solar, battery storage and new transmission lines.

PSC CHAIR STEPS DOWN

Rebecca Cameron Valcq, Chairperson of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, stepped down from the state regulatory agency on February 4th. She was appointed to the commission by Gov. Tony Evers in January 2019 and became chairperson and a member of Evers' cabinet two months later.

HALF OF CONTROVERSIAL TRANSMISSION PROJECT ONLINE

“We are pleased the eastern segment of the Cardinal-Hickory Creek line has been placed in service,” American Transmission Co. Project Manager Jake Valentine said in a statement.

“This allows the project to begin to provide numerous benefits for electric consumers.” The project was approved by the Midwest grid operator in 2011. It received approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in September 2019, and the Iowa Utilities Board in May 2020.

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WISCONSIN'S LARGEST SOLAR PROJECT IS NOW FULLY OPERATIONAL

Madison Gas and Electric and We Energies are setting another milestone in delivering affordable, reliable and clean energy to their customers. The final panels at the Badger Hollow Solar Farm are now in service, completing the largest solar project in Wisconsin history. Badger Hollow Solar Farm is a 300-megawatt (MW) renewable energy facility located near the communities of Montfort and Cobb in Iowa County, Wisconsin. The project came online in two 150-MW phases. The second phase began powering homes and businesses across Wisconsin in December. The facility's first phase came online in December 2021. The solar facility's 300-MW generating capacity can power about 90,000 homes.

Bill Protecting the Energy Grid Under Consideration in the State Legislature!

XCEL ENERGY NAMES NEW PRESIDENT FOR MINNESOTA, NORTH DAKOTA AND SOUTH DAKOTA

Xcel Energy has announced that Chris Clark, current President of Xcel Energy – Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, will retire March 1, 2024. Ryan Long, Xcel Energy’s interim general counsel, will succeed Clark as the new president, effective January 1, 2024.

“I want to thank Chris for his tremendous contributions to the company. He helped lead the nation’s clean energy transition and was instrumental in driving our wind leadership to new heights in the Upper Midwest,’’ said Bob Frenzel, Xcel Energy’s chairman, president and CEO.

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PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION REJECTS MGE's PROPOSED CHANGES TO RESIDENTIAL SOLAR REIMBURSEMENT

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin has rejected a proposal by Madison Gas & Electric that would have changed how the utility reimburses residential solar owners for energy they put back into the grid. 

State regulators are expected to make a decision on a different utility's proposal to change solar reimbursement at a later time. 

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FORD PRO AND XCEL ENERGY COLLABORATE TO INSTALL EV CHARGING PORTS FOR BUSINESS FLEETS

Ford Pro, the commercial division within Ford Motor Company, and Xcel have announced a unique collaboration to support the deployment of 30,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging ports in Xcel Energy service territories across the U.S. by 2030 with most upfront costs offset by Xcel for qualifying business fleet customers.

Ford Pro and Xcel Energy are launching the 30x30 initiative within Xcel Energy’s broader Electric Vehicle Supply Infrastructure (EVSI) program to scale EV adoption and increase access to charging infrastructure for business fleets across Xcel Energy’s service areas in the U.S. Through the program, most upfront costs for EV charging equipment and installation for businesses will be offset by Xcel Energy. Ford Pro will offer its suite of end-to-end charging solutions to Xcel Energy business customers as part of the effort. 

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JC CULLEN INVESTS AS ANCHOR TENANT IN ALLIANT ENERGY'S SOLAR GARDEN IN JANESVILLE

JP Cullen, a $500+ million, full-service construction company headquartered in Janesville with additional offices in Madison and Milwaukee, is the first local business to announce plans to be an anchor tenant in Alliant Energy’s Janesville Community Solar garden. The community-funded solar garden will reduce dependence on fossil fuels and positively affect the environment through the support of residential and business customers.


JP Cullen has purchased 10 percent of the 9,000 solar blocks at the 2.25-megawatt project, to be located east of the Rock Haven Assisted Living facility on county-owned property. The garden will power up to 1,800 homes at maximum output. Alliant Energy will begin construction next spring and expects the project to be operational by the end of 2024.

FIRST OF ITS KIND ENERGY PROJECT IN US TO BE CONSTRUCTED IN COLUMBIA COUNTY

Columbia County may soon be home to one of the most sustainable, advanced energy storage systems in the country, according to Alliant Energy. The company has announced it has been selected for a grant of up to approximately $30 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED) for a proposed 200-megawatt hour energy storage system. 


Alliant Energy’s new battery system, known as the Columbia Energy Storage Project, would be the first-of-its-kind in the United States and represents a significant advancement toward a more sustainable, reliable and cost-effective energy future.

XCEL ENERGY ANNOUNCES OTHER LEADERSHIP CHANGES

Xcel Energy has announced other changes to its executive leadership team. Brett Carter, Executive Vice President, Group President of Utilities and Chief Customer Officer, is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities. Current Executive Vice President, Chief Legal and Compliance officer Amanda Rome has been named to this role, effective immediately. The company’s four operating company presidents and customer organization leaders will report to Rome.

Ryan Long, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, will step in as General Counsel and oversee the legal and corporate compliance group on an interim basis.

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XCEL BOARD DECLARES DIVIDEND


The Board of Directors of Xcel Energy has declared a quarterly dividend on its common stock of 52 cents per share. The dividends are payable January 20, 2024, to shareholders of record on December 28, 2023.

ALLIANT ENERGY CEO JOHN LARSEN BECOMES EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, LISA BARTON NAMED CEO

Alliant Energy has announced that its Board of Directors elected John Larsen, current Board Chair and CEO, to the position of Executive Chairman, effective January 1, 2024. In addition, Lisa Barton has been elected CEO of Alliant Energy and a member of the Board of Directors, effective January 1, 2024.


"Lisa is an outstanding leader, with a track record of driving strategic outcomes, making her uniquely qualified to take on the CEO role during this period in our industry," Larsen said. "The board and I are confident she will further Alliant Energy’s ability to deliver consistent results as we deliver on our purpose of serving customers and helping to build stronger communities. I look forward to working closely with Lisa in her new role."

Barton joined Alliant Energy in February of this year as President and COO.  

"I am excited and appreciative for the opportunity to take on the role of CEO during this exciting time for our company and industry," Barton said. "I am honored to follow John's leadership and look forward to our continued partnership. There has never been a more exciting time to be in the industry, and it is a privilege to have the opportunity to work with our dedicated and innovative team at Alliant Energy, where we are focused on successfully delivering on our purpose of serving customers and building stronger communities."

"The Board of Directors is confident that Lisa will provide excellent leadership at Alliant Energy, and working with our deep bench of leaders, continue to deliver superior value to our customers, communities and shareowners," said Carol Sanders, independent lead director of the board of directors. "On behalf of the Alliant Energy Board of Directors, I also want to thank John for his outstanding and continued leadership. His track record as CEO in delivering long-term value to customers, communities and shareowners is built upon his strong foundation of serving our company for the past 35 years. We are pleased that he is stepping into his new role as executive chairman and will continue to help shape the future direction of Alliant Energy." 

Sanders will remain in her role as lead independent director.

In Larsen's new role as Executive Chairman, he will remain an employee of Alliant Energy and Chair of the Board of Directors, and Barton will report to him. Working closely with Barton, Larsen will oversee key strategic matters important to the company, including the development of the company’s strategy, as well as legislative and investor engagement. He will remain actively engaged in key energy and economic policy matters, and with key stakeholders and in the community.

BILL PROTECTING ENERGY GRID RETURNS TO THE STATE LEGISLATURE

Lawmakers in both chambers of the state Legislature have held hearings on a bill that is aimed at protecting Wisconsin’s power grid from becoming an inefficient patchwork of separate transmission line operators.

The bills were introduced in the state Senate last week by Senator Julian Bradley, R-Franklin; and in the Assembly by Representative Peterson, R-Waupaca. The bills would give the current transmission line companies in Wisconsin the right of first refusal (ROFR) to build new lines connecting to their existing infrastructure.

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WEC REAFFIRMS 2024 SHUTDOWN FOR FIRST OAK CREEK UNITS

WEC Energy Group expects to stop using coal as a power source by 2032, three years earlier than previously expected.

WEC Energy Group executives have presented the utility's plan to become coal-free in eight years, beginning with the shutdown next year of a pair of coal-powered generating units at its We Energies subsidiary's Oak Creek Power Plant.

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