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Xcel Energy Cuts Carbon Emissions 35 Percent

Xcel Energy is a step closer to achieving one of the most aggressive carbon-reduction goals in the industry. The company has announced that it cut carbon emissions 35 percent, according to its newly released Corporate Responsibility Report. This puts Xcel Energy on track to reach or exceed its ambitious goal of reducing carbon
emissions 60 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels.

“We’re on a path to provide a more sustainable, prosperous energy future and believe reducing carbon emissions while enhancing affordability is a tremendous benefit for the customers and communities we serve,” said Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy.

Xcel Energy surpassed the U.S. commitment under the Paris Climate Accord in 2016 which called fora 26 to 28 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2025. It’s now working to achieve a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2022 from 2005 levels.

The company plans to continue reducing its environmental footprint with an energy mix that is projected to be 60 percent carbon free in 2022. This transition to cleaner energy involves retiring aging coal plants and replacing their energy with a combination of wind and solar power and using natural gas as backup. Much of the energy will come from wind power as Xcel Energy will more than double its wind generation with 12 new wind farms in seven states. These new energy sources are complemented by two key sources — the company’s broad array of advanced customer energy efficiency programs and the continued efficient operation of its carbon-free nuclear plants in the Upper Midwest.

Xcel Energy Acquires Foxtail Wind Energy Center

Xcel Energy is continuing to transition its fleet to carbon-free energy in the Upper Midwest with
the addition of the Foxtail Wind Energy Center located in Dickey County in south-central North
Dakota. The 150-megawatt wind farm is part of the company’s vision to achieve 85 percent
clean energy by 2030 by adding low-cost, clean energy with 1,850 megawatts of renewable
energy located in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.

“All customers want low-cost energy, and we’re investing in projects like the Foxtail Wind facility
that will help keep bills low while adding investments that will benefit our customers in North
Dakota and the Upper Midwest,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy—Minnesota, North
Dakota, South Dakota. “Foxtail Wind will provide value to the landowners, the local community,
and customers who use the electricity it generates.”

The Foxtail project is one of several renewable energy initiatives the company anticipates will
put it on a path to produce 85 percent of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2030. The
plan will also save customers billions of dollars in fuel and other costs in the coming decades.
The ‘steel for fuel’ strategy is projected to keep customer bill increases below the rate of inflation
by using low-cost wind energy and other investments as it transitions its generation fleet.

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.

 

 

 

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.

MGE Receives Approval To Move Ahead With Largest Wind Farm To Date

Madison Gas and has received approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) to construct, own and operate a 66-megawatt (MW) wind farm near Saratoga, Iowa. The
approximately $107 million project will be MGE’s largest wind farm to date—delivering energy to power approximately 47,000 homes. The decision by the PSCW enables MGE to continue advancing the company’s clean energy goals by increasing its use of renewable energy and further reducing carbon dioxide emissions as laid out in its Energy 2030 framework.

“MGE is committed to increasing renewable energy and driving carbon out of our energy supply mix,” President and CEO Jeff Keebler said. “We’re working to achieve a more sustainable energy supply mix using the best, most cost-effective technologies as they become available.”  Consisting of 33 wind turbines, the Saratoga Wind Farm will be located about 200 miles west of Madison, Wis. This site was chosen for its strong winds and proximity to existing transmission infrastructure, making it well situated for delivering clean energy to MGE customers.  “New wind turbine technology delivers greater efficiency, providing more electricity per turbine,” Keebler added.  “The economics of both the location and turbine technology will provide affordable, clean energy to MGE customers for years to come.”

MGE anticipates construction will begin in the spring of 2018, with the Saratoga Wind Farm online by the end of 2018.

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.

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