XCEL ENERGY CONTINUES EFFORTS IN PUERTO RICO

Nearly 2,000 Puerto Rican customers have had their electricity restored thanks to Xcel Energy crews. Workers from the Upper Midwest, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico have been on the island since January 29th and are continuing their efforts to restore power to the island. Four crew members are from Wisconsin.

Xcel Energy executives Bob Frenzel, Chief Financial Officer, and Kent Larson, Executive Vice President and Group President, Operations, visited Puerto Rico to thank workers for all they’ve done and to see the progress first hand.

More than one million Puerto Rican customers, seventy-five percent of island residents, have had their power restored.  Hundreds of thousands still remain without power more than four months after Hurricane Maria caused tremendous damage to the island’s homes, businesses, infrastructure and electrical grid.

NEITZEL TO STEP DOWN AS WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION SECRETARY

Former MG&E executive, Scott Neitzel, has announced he will be resigning as Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration, generally thought to be the second most powerful post in state government. Neitzel will be replaced by Ellen Nowak, currently Chairman of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. Commissioner Lon Roberts has been named the new Commission Chairman. Neitzel has not disclosed his future plans.

Xcel Energy Announces Plans for Solar Connect Community Garden in Ashland

Community solar gardens continue to grow in Wisconsin. Xcel Energy has announced plans to develop a third, one-megawatt solar garden in Ashland. The garden will be part of Solar Connect Community, Wisconsin’s largest community solar garden program.

If sufficient customer interest is demonstrated, the 
Ashland garden will be built in 2019 by OneEnergy  Renewables, a leading developer of community and utility-scale solar projects across the country. The solar garden will be located on property near Xcel Energy’s Ashland service center.

“This past year, we’ve had tremendous support for our 
Solar*Connect Community program from both residential and business customers,” said Mark Stoering, president, Xcel Energy, Wisconsin. “They have told us they want more options when it comes to their energy and this program allows them to support locally sourced solar energy and receive bill credits at the same time.”

The program’s first one-megawatt community solar garden was energized in October 2017 in Eau Claire, and construction of a one-megawatt garden in the greater La Crosse area is planned for 2018.

Xcel Energy Photo      A racking system is built prior to the installation of about 3,000 solar panels that make up Xcel Energy’s first one-megawatt Community Solar Garden in Eau Claire. That project was energized in October of 2017, and a second one-megawatt garden is planned for the La Crosse area this year. The third garden is proposed for construction in Ashland by the fall of 2019.

 

 

 

Wisconsin Energy Grid Likely to be Less Coal-Fired in the Future

Wisconsin’s energy production is in line with national trends that show declining use of fossil fuel plants, in particular coal-fired plants. A recent report from the U.S. Energy Information  Administration found nearly all utility-scale power plants in the United States that have been retired over the past decade were powered by fossil fuels. Forty-seven percent of those were coal-fired generators.

The data on retired Wisconsin plants is in line with the national figures. We Energies announced in November it would close the Pleasant Prairie coal plant in Kenosha County in 2018.

Alliant Energy to Build English Farms Wind Farm

Alliant Energy’s Iowa energy company will add more clean energy with the acquisition of the English Farms Wind Farm.  The company finalized an agreement with developer Tradewind Energy for the 170-megawatt project, located in Poweshiek County in central Iowa.

“Wind energy is a win for Iowans,” said Doug Kopp, President of Alliant Energy’s Iowa Energy Company. “The benefits of this project help customers through reductions in emissions and fuel cost. It gives landowners lease payments to help on the farm and it helps communities through increased local tax revenue for schools and community services.” Alliant Energy will build and own English Farms Wind Farm, with major construction starting in 2018. This is one of several wind farms the company is building to deliver cost-competitive, clean energy to customers.

Alliant Energy received approval in 2016 to add up to 500 megawatts of wind energy in Iowa. The company has requested a similar wind expansion from the Iowa Utilities Board again in 2017. With these combined projects, customers will get more than one-third of their energy from wind by the end of 2020. This overall wind expansion represents a roughly $1.8 billion investment and adds up to 1,000 megawatts of new wind generation in Iowa. Together, that’s enough to power up to 430,000 Iowa homes a year.

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