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PSC Approves Brown County Bioenergy Project

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) has approved a conditional $15 million Focus on Energy grant to BC Organics, LLC, for an innovative bioenergy system in Brown County. The system will produce renewable natural gas from dairy farm manure and other waste. The project will reduce the need to landspread raw manure, protect sensitive groundwater and surface waters in northeastern Wisconsin and provide positive economic benefits to participating farms.

At the direction of Governor Walker, the PSC, Department of Natural Resources, and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection collaborated to develop a request for proposals (RFP) on innovative anaerobic digester systems that could produce renewable energy, remove nutrients from manure, protect water quality, and reduce pathogens.

BC Organics was recommended unanimously by the evaluation team comprised of expert staff from the PSC, DNR, DATCP, UW-Madison and Focus on Energy. BC Organics must obtain all of the necessary state and local regulatory approvals before construction may begin and includes an odor control plan designed to minimize impacts on neighboring landowners.

The consortium consists of 24 members led by Wisconsin based Dynamic Concepts (Waukesha), along with WEC Energy Group (Milwaukee), US Biogas LLC (Plymouth), and BioStar  Organics, among other Wisconsin based firms.

The project’s proposed location is northeast of Holland, near Green Bay, and is co-located with a proposed landfill owned by Brown County.  It has commitments from nine Wisconsin farms with over 22,000 animal units, with the capability to expand to include additional farms in the future. The facility is expected to begin operations by January 1, 2019.

The project involves the construction of multiple anaerobic digesters with capability to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) from manure and food waste, and eventually landfill gas. The estimated energy output of 5.7 million therms is equivalent to the home heating needs for 7,600 Wisconsin homes. The RNG will be injected into the interstate natural gas pipeline system for use
as a heating and transportation fuel.

Alliant Energy Acquires Ownership Interest in Great Western Wind Farm

In June, EDF Renewable Energy announced the signing of the Purchase and Sale Agreement by which Alliant
Energy Corporation will acquire a 50% ownership interest in the 225 megawatt Great Western Wind Project.
Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval and customary conditions precedent.

“EDF RE is a renewable energy leader, and we are proud to establish a partnership with them,” said Alliant Energy Vice President of Business Development Joel Schmidt. “Our 50 percent cash equity ownership interest in this Project aligns with Alliant Energy’s strategy to invest in renewable energy.”

EDF RE remains involved in the project as a 50 percent co-owner and provides management services. EDF Renewable Services provides a portion of the current operations and maintenance services as well as 24/7 remote monitoring from its Operations Control Center.

Located in Woodward and Ellis counties near the base of the Oklahoma panhandle, Great Western Wind is comprised of 30 V117 (unit capacity of 3.3 MW) and 63 V100 (unit capacity of 2.0 MW) wind turbines supplied by Vestas.  The Project achieved commercial operations in December 2016; electricity generated is provided to Google under a long-term Power Purchase Agreement.

Raphael DeClercq, Vice President of Portfolio Strategy for EDF RE, commented, “The sale of equity stakes represents an integral part of EDF Renewable Energy’s business model, allowing us to maintain a balanced ownership
portfolio in order to assist in the funding of new project development. We are pleased to forge a new business relationship with Alliant Energy on this first transaction. We are confident that our expertise as a developer and operator complements Alliant Energy’s renewable energy strategy.”

EDF Renewable Energy is one of the largest renewable energy developers in North America with 9 gigawatts of
wind, solar, storage, biomass and biogas projects developed throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Minnesota Commission Green Lights Xcel Energy’s Midwest Wind Expansion

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has approved Xcel Energy’s plan for the largest expansion of wind energy in the Upper Midwest. The North Dakota Public Service Commission will review the plan later this year. The new wind projects will save Xcel Energy customers billions of dollars in fuel and other costs, as compared to the
costs of other energy sources. Seven new wind farms are slated to be built in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and
South Dakota and will be operational by the end of 2020. The projects will provide enough energy to power more than 800,000 homes, increasing Xcel Energy’s regional wind output by approximately 70 percent.

“We’re investing in low-cost wind energy to provide the benefits of clean, affordable energy directly to our
customers,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota. “These projects deliver on our plan to keep
energy costs low while also reducing carbon emissions by more than 60 percent in the coming decades.”

With these new wind farms, Xcel Energy is locking in low-cost, carbon-free energy. As no fuel is needed for
wind farms, the cost of electricity from the wind farms is not affected by fuel price spikes. Customers receive the
benefit of low, stable electricity prices from these wind farms for the 25-year life of the projects.

“Our strategy delivers the long-term value our customers tell us they want,” said Clark. “These projects give
our customers both lower bills over the long term and predictable prices in addition to a cleaner energy mix.”

Xcel Energy will own 1,150 megawatts of the new wind energy; the remaining 400 megawatts will be sold to the
company under long-term power purchase agreements.

MGE PLANNING LARGE WIND PROJECT IN IOWA

Madison utility Madison Gas and Electric plans to build a $107 million, 66-megawatt wind
farm in Howard County, Iowa, that would become the company’s largest wind farm to
date. The project, known as Saratoga, will consist of 33-turbines on a 10-square-mile site
about 200 miles west of Madison. The site is well situated because of its strong winds and
proximity to transmission infrastructure. If approved, construction could begin in early
2018 and deliver enough electrical power for approximately 47,000 homes by the end
of 2018. The company said wind turbine technology has improved with larger turbines
producing energy more efficiently, making it a cost-effective, clean-energy option.

Xcel Energy Announces Solar Connect Community

Xcel Energy has announced it is moving forward with development of Wisconsin’s largest community solar garden program.  As part of Solar* Connect Community, Xcel Energy will purchase the electricity produced by two, one-megawatt solar gardens. One will be built in the city of Eau Claire and the other in La Crosse County. The solar gardens will be constructed by Pristine Sun, a San Francisco-based leading developer of solar projects.

The City of Eau Claire has signed a lease with Pristine Sun to build the Eau Claire solar array on 7½ acres of an abandoned landfill near the company’s Wisconsin headquarters on West Hamilton Avenue in the Sky Park Industrial Park. The Sky Park landfill operated as a municipal waste facility from 1948 to 1965. With community solar programs, customers share in the benefits of solar energy without the need to install solar panels on their own roof or maintain their own solar array. Through Solar* Connect Community, customers choose their own subscription level, pay a one-time fee to subscribe and receive a monthly credit on their electric bill based on their portion of the solar energy produced.

In addition to the solar garden in Eau Claire, Pristine Sun will construct a similar sized facility on private land in La Crosse County. Xcel Energy may also opt to build up to one megawatt of additional community solar that could be operational in 2017. The two community solar gardens are expected to be operational by the end of 2016.

XCEL ENERGY ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR LARGEST SOLAR GARDEN PROJECT

Solar energy is taking a significant step forward as Xcel
Energy, the nation’s leading utility provider of wind
energy, has announced plans to create Wisconsin’s largest
community solar garden program. As part of Solar*Connect
Community, Xcel Energy plans to purchase up to three
megawatts of electricity from community solar arrays, the
first two megawatts of which are planned for Eau Claire and
La Crosse counties.

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