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WUI REGIONAL MEETINGS HIGHLIGHT RENEWABLES, TRANSMISSION AND ENERGY FORECASTS

WUI 2018 Regional Meetings were held recently in Madison and Oshkosh. They addressed how Wisconsin Utilities are incorporating renewable energy into a cost benefit energy portfolio and how renewables impact the consumer and investor. An overview of the Strategic Energy Assessment (SEA) draft was presented at the Madison meeting by Martin Day, Administrator of the Division of Energy Regulation at the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW) and the same information was presented at the Oshkosh Regional by Holly O’Higgins, SEA Docket Coordinator for the Division of Energy Regulation at PSCW. Attendees in Madison were treated to an Alliant Energy Solar project presentation and on-site tour led by Dave Sinner, Project Manager II Customer Centric Generation. Robert Bartlett, Director of Public and Community Affairs and Zack Hill, Senior Resource Development Coordinator of Alliant Energy, presented Alliant Energy’s plan to incorporate renewables. In Oshkosh attendees learned about the Cardinal-Hickory Creek Transmission line project by Director of Environmental and Local Relations, Gregory Levesque of American Transmission Company (ATC).

WISCONSIN ALLIANT CUSTOMERS TO RECEIVE A RATE FREEZE

Wisconsin customers of Alliant Energy will see no increase to base electric and natural gas rates through 2020 under a proposal filed with the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSCW). Customer rates will drop for the remainder of 2018 due to bill credits following a separate PSCW decision.

“The rate freeze is a win for customers,” according to John Larsen, President of Alliant Energy Corporation. “We’ve worked hard to hold the line on costs through 2020. It’s important to us to deliver cleaner power to families and businesses while keeping rates down.”

The company reached agreement on the proposal with significant input and collaboration from the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) and Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group (WIEG). If approved by the PSCW, the plan would be in effect 2019-2020. A decision is expected later in 2018. No rate increase proposed for 2019-2020. The proposal reflects Alliant Energy’s efforts to lower operational and fuel costs, along with expected tax savings from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Included are investments for making electricity from cleaner and renewable sources. Alliant Energy’s retail electric rates are among the lowest in Wisconsin.

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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.

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