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.

WEC Energy Board of Directors Changes

 

Cunningham Elected to WEC Energy Group Board

Cunningham, 62, who retired in 2016, had previously served Deloitte since 2002. Prior to joining Deloitte, he was a partner at Arthur Andersen, where he worked from 1980 to 2002. He has more than 30 years of experience serving public audit clients in a broad array of industries, including manufacturing, printing, software and financial services. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in accounting from The Ohio State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin.Danny L. Cunningham, retired Partner and Chief Risk Officer of Deloitte & Touche LLP, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of WEC Energy Group and will serve on the Audit and Oversight Committee.

Cunningham currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Audit Committee of Actuant Corporation. He qualifies as an independent director under WEC Energy Group’s Corporate Governance Guidelines.

 

Farrow Elected to WEC Energy Board

William M. Farrow III, Organizer, Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of Urban Partnership Bank in Chicago, was appointed to the Board of Directors of WEC Energy Group effective January 1, 2018.

At Bank One, he held many senior positions where his responsibilities included ecommerce/ebusiness management, technology sales management, and technology platform development and conversion. Farrow brings more than 39 years of executive management experience in managing business operations, managing enterprise risk and strategy. He qualifies as a technology expert and a financial expert.William M. Farrow III, Organizer, Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of Urban Partnership Bank in Chicago, was appointed to the Board of Directors of WEC Energy Group effective January 1, 2018.

Jones Retires from Board at Year-End

Paul W. Jones retired from the Board effective December. 31. Jones, 67, served as a Director of Integrys Energy Group and joined the WEC Energy Group Board of Directors when the company acquired Integrys in 2015.

XCEL ENERGY SENDS CREWS TO PUERTO RICO

Xcel Energy has sent more than 70 line workers and support staff to Puerto Rico to help with the ongoing power restoration efforts on the island. Hundreds of thousands of customer remain without power nearly four months after Hurricane Maria made landfall.

Xcel Energy trucks left for Puerto Rico last month and were loaded onto a barge at the port of Lake Charles, Louisiana, on their way to the island. The company has sent 50 line workers from the Upper Midwest, Colorado, Texas and New Mexico, along with additional safety and support staff after receiving the call to help last month. Of the 50 workers, four were from Hudson, Sparta, La Crosse and Amery, Wisconsin.

“We want to assist the peopleof Puerto Rico and we are honored to be part of this restoration effort,” said Kent Larson, Executive Vice President and Group President, Operations-Xcel Energy. “This is a massive undertaking under difficult circumstances, but our crews are ready to bring power back on safely. It’s what we would do for our own customers and we want to deliver that same quality of service to our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico.”  Xcel Energy crews are expected to work in Caguas, a mountainous and remote region in the southeast area of the island. This is where the storm came inland, and the damage is significant. The crews flew to Puerto Rico at the end of January to work with incident management teams that have partnered with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) on restoration efforts.

PREPA is working with members of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on damage assessment and a coordinated restoration plan. More than 20 electric companies, including Xcel Energy, are part of a coordinated, nationwide mutual assistance response that’s bringing nearly 1,500 additional workers to Puerto Rico. With these new workers more than 5,500 people will be part of the restoration efforts.

ATC Receives Approval from PSC for Transmission Line

On January 12th, American Transmission Company received approval from the Public Service
Commission of Wisconsin to construct an approximately 4.2 mile, 345,000-volt Riverside
Transmission Line Project. The project will consist of a double-circuit transmission line from a
planned new substation near the Alliant Energy West Riverside Energy Center to an existing
345-kV transmission line in the Town of Beloit.

The line is needed to connect the expanded West Riverside Energy Center to the electric
transmission grid. The West Riverside Energy Center will include a natural gas-fueled
generating station with an integrated solar installation.

“The ordered route is made up of segments from the two routes that ATC submitted to the PSC,”
said ATC Project Manager Mark Sanzenbacher. “The anticipated project cost is approximately
$42 million.”

The planned in-service date of the line is 2019.

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